REGINA - Today, Saskatchewan’s Official Opposition called on the Sask. Party government to expand protections for all workers, including gig and contract workers. This comes following consultation with workers, advocates, and labour leaders as the provincial government undertakes a regular review of Saskatchewan’s occupational health and safety standards.
“We know that the very nature of work has been rewritten since the last review of OH&S. The ongoing pandemic has exposed the challenges working people are up against,” said Labour Critic Carla Beck. “Saskatchewan needs OH&S provisions that recognize both shifting employee-employer relationships and the burdens of work in the twenty-first century.”
Beck noted more Saskatchewan people are making a living as contractors and gig workers, and that they deserve the same safe and healthy workplaces other workers are guaranteed through occupational health and safety provisions.
Deputy Leader and Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer echoed the call to fix OH&S with provisions for domestic violence, sexual harassment, and mental illness.
“I’ve heard from numerous workers - particularly women contracted in the arts and culture sector - that face significant workplace abuse and are at risk of exploitation and assault.” said Sarauer. “Other provinces have committed to addressing all forms of harassment and abuse while at work. We must do the same. It goes without saying that all workers deserve a safe workplace, but tragically that is not the reality in Saskatchewan today.”
The Official Opposition has launched a petition to be presented in the upcoming legislative session that calls for:
- An expansion of OH&S to all workers, including contract and gig workers.
- Comprehensive protections for interpersonal violence and sexual harassment.
- Provisions to support workers living with mental illness.
“The provincial government cannot boast a strong economy if all workers are without a healthy and safe workplace - the government’s multitude of failures during this pandemic have made that perfectly clear,” said Beck.