Clarification of Abolishment


SUN/Government/RHA Tripartite Steering Committee

December 16, 2013


The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) and its members have had an ongoing and open relationship with Government since the signing of the first Partnership Agreement in 2008.  This Partnership has been successful in addressing many of the issues around the recruitment and retention of registered nurses in Saskatchewan.

As a result of discussions with respect to patient safety and registered nursing levels, on November 12, 2013, a moratorium was instituted asking Regional Health Authorities (RHA)s to discontinue abolishing RN positions until a “deeper dive” into issues could be investigated. The Minister has directed Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) to pause registered nurse position abolishment until January 31, 2014.  Read Minister Duncan, Saskatchewan Minister of Health's, letter confirming the  pause. A Working Group is being struck to complete this investigation. This document defines “abolishment.”

UPDATE:  The Pause has now been extended to March 1, 2014. Read Minister of Health's letter agreeing to the extension.


The purpose of the pause was to create time to formulate a proactive and workable nurse staffing strategy that will ensure share goals of supporting better, safer patient and family-centered care now and in the future.

In order to provide clarification with respect to Minister Duncan’s directive to pause registered nurse position abolishment until January 31, 2014, the following shall apply:

The definition of abolishment:

  • Any change that “abolishes” the registered nurse position; which includes elimination of the position, vacancy management, and replacement of the registered nurse position with another provider after November 12, 2013 are subject to the pause;
  • Any registered nurse positions that were abolished, replaced with another provider on a permanent basis or were vacant, prior to November 12, 2013 are not subject to the pause where formal notice was served as per Article 27.01 (d) (3).
  • In cases where registered nurse positions were abolished, replaced with another provider on a permanent basis or were vacant and no formal notice was served prior to November 12, 2013, the registered nurse positions shall be posted and filled as per the collective agreement; it is agreed that the resulting postings may be temporary in nature, for a period of not less than six (6) months;
  • RHAs may continue day to day management of registered nurse resources to meet patient and workplace needs, within the context of the Minister’s directive.

The pause will allow the Tripartite Steering Committee to complete work on the following:

  • A review of quality and safety issues in relation to registered nurse staffing complements and patient outcome data. This will require an analysis of emerging themes in the provided patient care cases in light of key quality/safety and staffing indicators and an investigation of comparative data sources. This review will aim to provide more systemic information on successes and challenges in the provision of high quality and safe patient care.
  • Engage the SRNA to lead work on clarification of the role of the RN.
  • Development and design of a mechanism for Tripartite members to have open discussion about concerns and work to resolution of those issues.
  • Ensure reaffirmation of the government’s commitment of 800 additional positions through the initial Partnership Agreement signed in 2008 and recognition that the system is currently over this target by 200 registered nursing positions.


Sun Country Health Region Prairie North Health Region Sunrise Health Region Prince Albert Parkland Health Region Kelsey Trail Health Region
Keewatin Yatthe Health Region Heartland Health Region Saskatchewan Union of Nurses Saskatchewan Ministry of Health Saskatoon Health Region Mamawetan Churchill River Health Region
Five Hills Health Region Cypress Health Region Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region