Lack of retention measures leaves healthcare union unimpressed by 2024/25 provincial budget

This year’s Saskatchewan budget delivers a total of $7.59 billion, an increase of $726.4 million or 10.6 per cent in health care.

The budget expands patient care and services to meet the increasing demands of a growing population, increases access to primary care through support for physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health professions, and funds key infrastructure projects like new hospitals and long-term care homes across Saskatchewan.

“This year’s Health budget sets a high benchmark for delivering improved patient care to residents within communities across the province,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “Connecting residents to primary care through support for our physicians and health care professionals is a priority of this budget. We are investing in women’s health, life-saving cancer care advancements and increasing access to primary care.”

Janella Hubbard, the General Vice-President of CUPE 5430 for the Regina area, said this year’s budget falls short for healthcare workers.

“There’s a slight increase, so that’s encouraging, but compared to our needs, it’s a drop in the bucket,” she said. “We’re really looking for some money targeted at staff retention. There have been some efforts at recruitment, but until we’ve solved the working conditions and the short staffing that’s making the conditions bad, we won’t keep them (healthcare workers), and we won’t keep the staff we’ve got right now.”

President of CUPE 5430 Bashir Jalloh said this isn’t the first time they have seen a ‘significant’ investment for healthcare and healthcare workers.

“It’s been a lot of promises. We have seen this before. They have talked about an increase in healthcare and an increase in trying to focus on recruitment, but we have yet to see that,” Jalloh said. “They’re talking about building healthcare facilities, which is great, but if you have these fancy facilities and you don’t staff them, what’s the point.”

Jalloh pointed to the Regina Urgent Care Facility, which is set to open later this year, but he says the Government is having trouble finding staff.

He said that the province needs to focus more on retention than recruitment, as the union has noticed that Saskatchewan is where workers gain experience before heading to other provinces that have higher pay and better working conditions.

“If we want to make a difference, not only focus on recruitment, let’s focus on retention,” he said. “Let’s try to improve total compensation for healthcare workers and increase working conditions. That is our hope that this budget will do that, but it is very disappointing that I did not hear anything about retention.”

For more on the 2024/2025 Provincial Budget, including more reaction, head to

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