For Immediate Release January 26th, 2021
REGINA -- A report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) shows that the Saskatchewan government is leaving behind millions of dollars of federal funding meant to support Saskatchewan families through the COVID-19 crisis.
The report, Picking Up the Tab, shows that the Sask. Party government has not spent almost $50 million worth of federal funding earmarked for wage top-ups for essential workers.
“Premier Scott Moe is letting thousands of frontline workers down as Saskatchewan case numbers continue to climb,” said SGEU Secretary Treasurer Roseann Strelezki. “It is unacceptable that the Premier has left so much federal funding on the table and failed to fund additional supports at the provincial level.
“There is no excuse for Saskatchewan to have offered such limited and short-lived wage top-ups for essential workers when there was money all along to provide something better. This government needs to put their money where their mouth is and start getting those dollars out the door to workers who are risking their health and safety to deliver important services to the people of Saskatchewan.”
In addition to a failure to spend federal funding, the Saskatchewan government has been extremely reluctant to come forward with investments of its own. The province is picking up only 10% of the cost of COVID-19 response measures, while the federal government is covering the other 90%.
- Wage top-up: The federal essential worker wage top-up was meant to be cost shared 25% provincial and 75% federal. Saskatchewan appears to have only matched 5% of the total funding.
- Spending: Saskatchewan is spending significantly less on COVID-19 supports than our neighbours, with supports in Alberta totaling $11,200 per person and supports in Manitoba totaling $9,400 per person. Supports in Saskatchewan are only $9,000 per person and are primarily funded by the federal government.
- Health care: In Saskatchewan, $1,200 per person is allocated to health care. 98% of that is federal money, and only 2% of which is provincial health spending.
- Schools: Of the $120 per person devoted to COVID-19 adaptation in schools and childcare centres in Saskatchewan, the provincial government is contributing only 8% of funding.
The full report, Picking up the Tab: A complete accounting of federal and provincial COVID-19 measures in 2020, is available for download on the CCPA website at https://www.policyalternatives.ca/thetab.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Communications Officer, SGEU