Privatization is the shifting of ownership, management or provision of assets and/or services from the public to the private sector. Privatization is first and foremost about guaranteeing profits for companies at the expense of Saskatchewan people.
We all pay more with privatization, and it takes many forms:
- Selling-off a Crown Corporation or public asset;
- Contracting out a service to a private firm or third party rather than keeping the service internal or in-house;
- Outsourcing – another term for contracting out a service;
- Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) – another term for private ownership or control of community infrastructure and services. With P3s, governments enter into costly contracts that are essentially rent-to-own schemes rather than building and maintaining community infrastructure directly.
Evidence shows that privatization increases costs, and leads to lower quality and a reduction in service levels. We also lose control and accountability with privatization – profit making becomes the sole priority rather than serving the needs of our communities.
Handing over control of services and infrastructure to corporations is a political goal of those that stand to profit from privatization and not a real solution to infrastructure and service needs. That’s why we are often bombarded by a heavy duty sales pitch.
There is a better way. Saskatchewan people know they can count on public services to make life more affordable and deliver the services we need to improve our communities and our quality of life.
Did you know? A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ 2010 study revealed that an individual Canadian consumes on average $16,952 in public services per year. It’s a benefit that is often overlooked.
A new report from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives (CCPA) looks at the long-term issues of public-private-partnership (P3s) infrastructure builds.
A new report A Partnership in Name Only: How the public sector subsidizes the P3 model, written by Simon Enoch, CCPA Saskatchewan Director, examines the multiple issues public sector workers face in Saskatchewan’s P3 buildings.
The findings of the report, which was commissioned by CUPE Saskatchewan, is based on interviews with CUPE members working at P3s in municipalities, schools, and health care.
“We have seen many publications about the higher costs associated with the P3 model, but what is rarely discussed is the maintenance and operations component of the P3 model. This is curious because the maintenance of the building is the primary concern of the contract over the 30 plus years they are in place,” said Enoch. “We wanted to see how the maintenance provisions of these contracts effect the workers who work in these buildings and the public that rely on them. Who is better to consult than the workers themselves?”
Selling Saskatchewan: A decade of privatization 2007-2017
Published by the: CCPA-SK
Despite persistent statements from the Saskatchewan government that it does not harbor a “privatization agenda,” privatization has nevertheless accelerated dramatically under the Saskatchewan Party, particularly during its second and third terms in power.
Over the past decade, it is estimated that the Saskatchewan Party government has sold over $1.1 billion in public assets and eliminated at least 1,227 public sector jobs via privatization and outsourcing.
Selling Saskatchewan: A Decade of Privatization 2007 – 2017 identifies all the more significant statements and policy decisions involving privatization, public-private partnerships and outsourcing made in Saskatchewan since 2007.
Privatization in Saskatchewan since 2007
The following is a short summary of the privatization that has occurred since 2007 and is not an exhaustive list.
- 14 Crown Corporations entities sold-off;
- 4 Power Purchase Agreements signed with private companies – privatizing electricity generation;
- 24 areas of Crown Corporations were contracted-out; and
- 6 government policies were enacted restricting Crown Corporation growth.
- CT scans and surgical procedures contracted-out to a for-profit company;
- Government-backed P3 project for long-term care in Saskatoon, known as Amicus, opened its doors;
- Saskatoon Health Region’s laundry outsourced to for-profit company in Alberta;
- Outright privatization of health care laundry services in Saskatchewan (closure of public health care laundry facilities in Prince Albert, Weyburn, Yorkton and Moose Jaw announced – over 300 jobs will be lost).
- P3 announced for new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford.
Other P3s announced:
- Civic Operations Centre in Saskatoon
- Bypass road in Regina
- Two new bridges in Saskatoon
- Nine joint-use (public/separate) schools in Regina, Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville
- Long term care facility in Swift Current
Privatized liquor could cost province millions: report
The Saskatchewan government maintains that their proposed privatization of the province’s liquor retailing system will not result in diminished government revenues. However, a new joint study by Alberta’s Parkland Institute and the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives demonstrates that even with the existing mark-up and taxation regime in place, the government stands to lose millions in potential revenue under a privatized liquor system.
P3s: Pay more, get less
Public Private Partnerships—or P3s— is the name given to a method of privatizing services and facilities. In a typical P3 deal, the government pays for-profit private corporations to finance, design, build and/or operate facilities. The government typically commits to lease a P3 facility and use certain services for a period of 30 years or more.
P3s are first and foremost about corporations making profit at the expense of taxpayers, and governments are never wise to use them.
Related privatization articles:
- Fact Sheet: Sask Party’s Track Record on Privatization (September, 2020)
- Review finds P3 privatization still costs more, delivers less (October, 2020)
- Bankruptcy of Sask Hospital P3 partner Carillion could leave public on the hook for costs
- Backtracking on two-day-old promise to repeal Bill 40 shows Sask Party still wants to privatize Crowns
- CCPA: Saskatchewan government seems doomed to repeat the P3 mistakes of other provinces
- CUPE calls for more transparency around P3 schools
- Reliance on out-of-province consultant points to more problems with P3 privatization push
- Graham: User-pay MRIs bad policy
- User-pay MRI legislation will reduce access and only increase wait lists
- Graham: Saskatchewan people paying high price for government’s privatization agenda
- Provincial budget increases costs for Saskatchewan people through privatization and cuts
- Privatized liquor could cost province millions: report
- Laundry workers stage information picket at North Sask Laundry
- Expanded privatization in throne speech the wrong approach
- Graham: Regina wastewater treatment plant P3 claims need scrutiny
- MRIs should stay public, says CUPE
- North Battleford P3 Hospital Town Hall: October 22, 2014
- Sask Hospital P3 a bad move for the public purse
- Redacted P3 school information troubling
- Regina Catholic School Board meeting raises concerns about P3 schools
- Regina School Board AGM passes two motions against P3 schools
- Coming budget should scrap costly privatization and make priority investments in public services
- Plan for P3 schools and North Battleford hospital using P3 privatization misguided
- Asking the right questions: A guide for municipalities considering P3s (Second Edition)
- New toolkit helps members keep pensions out of privatization (October, 2020)
- P3 Schools Fact Sheet
- 10 Problems with P3s
- P3s in Saskatchewan
- Asking the Right Questions: A Guide for Municipalities Considering P3s
- What’s Wrong with P3s
- Report | The Trouble with the Amicus Deal
- Report | Doing the Math: Why P3’s for Alberta schools don’t add up
- Report | P3 hospitals: The wrong direction
- Flawed, Failed and Abandoned: 100 P3s