Report Card: Community-based organizations
Their track record
- Minimal and sporadic funding for group homes, childcare centres, women's shelters and other community-based organizations providing critical services for Saskatchewan's most vulnerable people.
- A 10% cut in funding to health care CBOs in 2017 which is only reversed after months of public pressure.
- Low wages that don't keep up with inflation.
- No commitment to stable, multi-year funding to CBOs to ensure stable programming, adequate staffing levels and decent wages.
Workers employed in community-based organizations – such as group homes, childcare centres and women’s shelters – provide critical services to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. While the Sask. Party government has established the laudable goal of making the province the best place in Canada to live for persons with disabilities, the workers who staff the province’s group homes and other CBO workplaces are grossly underpaid.
The Sask. Party track record:
- Since December 2012, the Sask. Party government announces minimal and sporadic funding increases to the CBO sector, which hampers the ability of CBOs to provide stable, reliable programming for Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable people.
- The absence of adequate, long-term funding for CBOs results in front-line staff being paid low wages that don’t keep up with inflation, which negatively impacts staff retention and recruitment. Many CBO workers go several years without a raise.
- In 2013 the Sask. Party government announces that it will close Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw, which has been the home for many intellectually disabled residents since 1955, in order to transition the residents to community-based care throughout the province. Nearly 500 good-paying unionized jobs are lost in Moose Jaw, to be replaced by low-paying jobs with few benefits throughout the province.
- Instead of agreeing to stable, multi-year funding, the Sask. Party government promotes the Social Impact Bond model of CBO funding, an approach that costs governments more, is overly complex, and focuses on the interests of private investors rather than CBOs and their clients.
- In the 2017 austerity budget, the Sask. Party government announces it will slash funding to 61 health CBOs by 10%. The CBOs provide a variety of services including harm-reduction programs, mental health and addictions supports, and clinical services. The government later reverses this decision after months of public pressure against the austerity budget.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government indirectly concedes that CBO workers are underpaid and undervalued when it makes workers in licensed childcare facilities, group homes and transition shelters making less than $2,500 per month eligible for the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program.
What Saskatchewan needs:
- Adequate, multi-year funding to Saskatchewan CBOs to ensure stable programming and adequate staffing levels are available to meet the varied needs of Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable people and to ensure workers receive a living wage.
- Provision of adequate personal protective equipment and communication of clear safety protocols to front-line CBO workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A provincial government that works collaboratively with the federal government to deliver a universal and affordable childcare system with expanded licensed childcare spaces.