Unions to Social Services Minister: Don’t fumble the ball on community-based organizations

Today, workers from Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) represented by CUPE, SEIU-West, and SGEU gathered at the legislature to send a simple message to the Minister of Social Services and former Saskatchewan Roughrider Gene Makowsky: Don’t fumble the ball on providing multi-year funding for Saskatchewan CBOs.

“Saskatchewan CBOs provide vital services to some of Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “After decades of underfunding, it’s past time for our government to step up. Saskatchewan CBOs have long been lobbying for stability only to be let down by this government at every turn. It’s time for Minister Makowsky to get his head in the game and provide stable, multi-year funding for our CBO sector.”

CBO workers care for people living with disabilities, respond to domestic violence calls, engage in suicide intervention, provide emergency child care, deliver mental health and addictions services, help people find employment, and more. For the past decade, the Saskatchewan government has provided inconsistent and unreliable funding for the CBO sector. For just as long, Saskatchewan unions have been calling on the government to provide multi-year funding for CBOs. A lack of stable, long-term funding has left CBOs in a constant state of uncertainty and as a result, they have been unable to provide wages that keep up with inflation for frontline workers, and struggle with recruitment and retention of staff.

“Many of our CBOs have been operating for decades, but still have to wait on pins and needles from year to year in order to find out whether or not they will receive government funding,” said Barbara Cape, president of SEIU-West. “A lack of multi-year funding is also hard on their clients who require care and services beyond just one year. This makes it challenging for CBOs to be able to plan for the necessary care and staffing levels needed to look after clients.”

“CBO workers spend a considerable amount of time on fundraising and filling out grant applications just to meet their budget needs,” said Tracey Sauer, president of SGEU. “If this government wants to support Saskatchewan residents, it needs to ensure long-term, consistent, reliable funding for CBOs so that staff can focus their time on meeting the needs of their clients. That’s how the government can help build safer and healthier communities across the province.”

SEIU-West, CUPE, and SGEU represent people in 80 community agencies across the province and have been working together for more than a decade to support and promote workers in the Community-Based Organization (CBO) sector.


For more information, please contact:

Ellen Paulley
Communications Officer, SGEU
Phone:  306-519-6762

Leanne Hendriks
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
Phone:  306-652-1011 ext. 2244

Eric Bell
Communications Representative, CUPE
Phone:  306-580-0893