Today NDP Leader Ryan Meili, Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon, and Saskatchewan Building Trades Executive Director Dion Malakoff gathered at the Chinook Power Station construction site near Swift Current to call on the Sask. Party government to fix their procurement policies to increase the benefits for Saskatchewan workers.
“When the province spends public dollars on infrastructure projects for Crown Corporations, highways, schools, and hospitals, those dollars should go towards creating jobs for Saskatchewan workers,” said Meili. “Instead, we’ve seen contracts for out-of-province companies, lower average weekly earnings, and higher unemployment for the people of our province. They aren’t delivering when it comes to creating good jobs for Saskatchewan people.”
The governments of Alberta and British Columbia have introduced community benefit agreements to ensure local workers benefit from government projects. The Manitoba government has used a minimum construction wage system to ensure local construction firms can compete on public contracts.
“Saskatchewan workers – Building Trades members and non-members alike – are hurting because the current provincial government hasn’t put them first when it comes to projects like the Swift Current Chinook Power Station, the Regina Bypass, or the new P3 schools,” said Malakoff. “Building Trades Workers worked 57% fewer hours in 2017 than 2012, and the numbers for 2018 are on track to be even worse.”
The Sask. Party’s broken procurement policies and PST hike on construction projects are reflected in the latest job numbers from Statistics Canada. This month’s numbers show that there are 6,400 fewer full-time jobs in Saskatchewan compared to last month, and 1,200 construction jobs were lost over the last year.
“For years, we’ve been calling on this government to wake up and face the music when it comes to their broken procurement model. But unfortunately, those concerns have fallen on deaf ears,” said Wotherspoon. “People are hurting, and this conservative government needs to do more to create jobs, and they can start by looking after workers in their own province like every other province in Western Canada has done.”