thumb-2020-06-027
thumb-2020-06-027 This article is more than 3 years old
Analysis

Scott Moe Quietly Cut Vaccine Program and Protections for Workers in Saskatchewan’s 2020 Budget

Scott Moe has released a budget designed for the ‘old normal’, critics say

After a three month delay following the coronavirus pandemic, Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party government finally released its 2020 Budget.

Moe’s finance minister, Donna Harpauer, declared that “the world has changed” forever thanks to the pandemic and stressed the need to “rebuild and recover together.”

But critics say the budget actually leaves Saskatchewan workers more vulnerable than they were before the pandemic.

Despite crashing oil prices, Moe’s pandemic budget doubles-down on oil by offering big oil companies tax cuts, while at the same time cutting programs relating to health, labour and the environment.

“The budget really is ‘let’s get back to the old normal’,” Simon Enoch of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Saskatchewan Office, told PressProgress.

“Their stimulus package is almost entirely building roads and helping out the oil industry.”

Here is a short-round up of a few cuts you may have missed in Moe’s 2020 Budget.

Vaccine Program Cuts Continue 

Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, Moe’s government cut funding for a program that delivers free vaccines to infants, school children and adults.

The Sask Party government reduced funding for an Immunization Program from $16,092,000 to $15,735,000 in 2017.

Had 2016 funding levels been maintained and kept pace with inflation, spending would today be around 17,020,143. But for both 2019 and 2020-21, funding has remained only at 16,475,000.

Labour Relations Board Real Funding Cut

And despite great shows of support for Saskatchewan’s frontline workers during the pandemic, Moe’s government is cutting the Labour Relations Board, whose role is to “administer, interpret and enforce Saskatchewan’s labour legislation.”

If 2016 Labour Relations Board spending at $1,076,000 increased with the rate of inflation it would be $1,138,060 in 2020. But yesterday’s budget earmarked only $1,000,000 for the board, unchanged from 2019.

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President Lori Johb told PressProgress these cuts mean workers could face more barriers to unionization, mediation and reporting abusive employers.

“Any cut would slow down an already very slow process of getting things in front of the LRB,” Johb said. “This process is already a little bit flawed, a little bit slow and so any cut is definitely going to put more challenges on that process.”

“I don’t think we have a union in our province that doesn’t have challenges with this provincial government, and putting any barriers in the way in terms of mediation or labour relations is not going to help that process at all,” she added.

“It tells me how seriously this government thinks about working people, and they really take us for granted and have no respect for working people’.”

Environmental Protection Program Cut

Meanwhile, as scientists warn that climate change will increase the likelihood of future pandemics, Moe also took an axe to Saskatchewan’s Environmental Protection Program.

EPP is down from  $5,514,000 in Moe’s 2019 Budget to $5,045,000 in Moe’s 2020 Budget.

By contrast, if the EPP’s 2016 $5,924,000 budget increased with the rate of inflation, it would currently be $6,265,680.

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2024-05-07-rainbow-rally-vancouver News

Take Back Alberta Leaders are Training ‘Scrutineers’ to Infiltrate Campaigns and Act as ‘Security’ on Voting Day

Related Stories

ANALYSIS

International Students are Coming to Canada Dreaming of a Better Life. Many Are Leaving Disillusioned and In Debt.

View the post
Analysis

Why Students Are Setting Up Encampments in Support of Palestine at Universities Across British Columbia

View the post
Analysis

The Federal Government Says Budget 2024 Makes The Wealthy Pay Their ‘Fair Share’. Economists Say The Rich Could Be Paying More.

View the post
Our free email newsletter delivers award-winning journalism directly to your inbox.
Get Canadian Investigative News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
Our free email newsletter delivers award-winning journalism to your inbox.
Get Canadian Investigative News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.