Rebates for workers a short-term solution to a long-term affordability crisis: SFL

While the announcement of a government rebate is welcome news to the working people of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour continues to demand that the government take immediate measures that will address the affordability crisis faced by workers across the province who are struggling to make ends meet due to the rising cost of living thanks to Sask. Party tax and utility rate hikes and high fuel prices.

“Today’s financial update proves what we’ve known for months- that the government has been hoarding record resource revenues while at the same time raising taxes and utility rates at the expense of working people,” said SFL President Lori Johb. “The SFL has been calling on the government to provide relief to working people for months, and while the announcement of a $500 rebate for Saskatchewan workers will help provide relief in the short term, it’s too little and too late. Many workers have already spent well over $500 due to tax hikes and inflation, and they need the government to come up with a plan that will lower the cost of living for the long term well after their rebate cheques have been spent.”

Johb continued to call on the government to take additional measures to help workers address the inflation and affordability crisis, including:

  • Immediately increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and come up with a plan to introduce a living wage
  • Scrapping planned PST hikes passed in the 2022 provincial budget and cancel proposed power rate hikes
  • Providing relief from high fuel prices
  • Taxing profits from companies experiencing record revenues from high resource prices

Johb also called on the government to use the record revenues generated by an unprecedented increase in resource royalties to invest in public healthcare and education, and scrap their plans to privatize healthcare.

“It’s unconscionable that, in a time when the province is facing record revenues and a balanced budget, the Sask. Party government is continuing to underfund public education, and are moving forward with plans to privatize healthcare- including sending patients out of province for private surgeries while hospitals across the province are being shut down due to lack of staff. The government must use this unprecedented cash windfall to invest in our public healthcare and education systems- today’s update makes it clear that there is no excuse for privatization and cuts.”