REGINA - Last night during the consideration of estimates, Seniors’ Critic Matt Love pressed the government for answers on the government’s broken promise to hire 300 Continuing Care Aides (CCAs) in the province’s hard-hit long-term care sector.
During the last election the Sask. Party promised that these 300 CCAs would be included at a cost of $18.4 million for all four years of their mandate. Instead, Budget 2021 cut this commitment by two thirds, allocating only $6 million for 90 continuing care aides in LTC and 18 in home care.
“Last night in committee I had the opportunity to dig into this government’s broken campaign promise to hire 300 CCAs,” said Love. “Here’s what I don’t understand: If the Sask. Party thought we needed 300 care aides in October, before the second wave ravaged our care homes, how do we need less now?”
In response to Love’s questions, Minister Hindley affirmed what many have been saying for years:
“We know we need more healthcare workers in this province generally, regardless of whether there’s a pandemic or not.”
The Minister went on to state that the CCAs promised on the campaign trail were intended to backfill existing staff shortages, and that no staff were added as part of the COVID-19 response. This despite the shocking outbreaks and loss of life in long-term care throughout the second wave of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.
“Other provinces invested millions to staff up the frontlines to give their long-term care systems the best shot at fighting the pandemic, but this government didn’t invest one thin dime,” said Love. “The minister could not point to a thing this government had done to increase staffing in response to the COVID-19 crisis. No pandemic staff, and a third of what was promised to backfill the short-staffed frontlines. The Sask. Party government must immediately fulfill their broken promise and provide seniors, families and front-line staff with the support they deserve.”