11,600 full-time jobs lost, unemployment rate climbs

Saskatchewan has lost 11,600 full-time jobs in just one year, driving unemployment up to 5.4 per cent, the largest year-over-year increase among the provinces.

That’s according to the latest report from Statistics Canada, released Friday. It shows that despite low oil prices, Alberta created 25,100 full-time jobs and Manitoba added 7,500 full-time jobs while Saskatchewan moved in the opposite direction.

“It’s not enough for the Sask. Party to stick its head in the sand and claim everything is fine,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “There are thousands of workers who have been forced to replace a great full-time job with a lower-paying part-time job, and there are thousands of families finding it tougher to make ends meet while the cost of living goes up, and their wages don’t keep up.

“This province has been missing the opportunity to strengthen our manufacturing sector, and build a powerful innovation and technology sector. And, it’s been contracting out jobs to other provinces and countries again and again. That has got to stop.”

Wotherspoon pointed to several examples just this summer of the Sask. Party sending massive contracts out of province and out of country at the expense of good jobs in Saskatchewan.

  • The Sask. Party awarded an international consortium led by a company from France a ludicrously pricey $1.88 billion contract to build and manage the Regina bypass in a complex P3 ownership structure.

  • The Sask. Party chose seven non-Saskatchewan companies to build and manage schools, including a Milwaukee firm that will be responsible for maintenance and operations for the next several decades under a P3 rent-a-school scheme.

  • The Sask. Party chose six non-Saskatchewan corporations to build and manage a hospital and corrections facility in North Battleford; two from the United Kingdom, two from Alberta, one from Quebec and one from British Columbia. This is also a complex P3 ownership scheme.

  • The Sask. Party is laying off more than 300 health care workers and turning over hospital linen services to an Alberta company.

  • The Sask. Party just laid off all corrections food services workers, and gave the contract to an expensive United Kingdom catering service.

Off-reserve First Nations unemployment has also steadily been getting worse month after month, now at a very disappointing 20.5 per cent.

Sectors that lost jobs include agriculture (-4,800); construction (-4,300); education (-3,800); forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas (-2,800); public administration (-2,800); manufacturing (-2,300); professional and technical services (-1,100); and finance, insurance and real estate (-200).