On December 3, 2020, in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the province, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) activated the next phase of their surge plan. The following are resources to assist SUN members in navigating the potential changes in their workplaces.
If at any time members have questions or concerns, please contact your Local President or SUN Provincial - Duty Roster @ :
Phone (306) 525-1666
Phone (306) 665-2100
Redeployment Plan & Health System Slow Down
- SHA Redeployment Plan & Service Slow Down Update (PDF)
- Creating capacity for 64 COVID patients requiring ICU care by mid-December to try to keep pace with projected demand.
- Creating capacity for 250 COVID patients requiring inpatient hospitalization by mid-December to try to keep pace with projected growth in demand.
- Creating capacity for contact tracing of approximately 560 average cases per day to try to keep pace with projected growth in demand.
- Service Impact
- Over the coming days, services will be affected at varying levels in various locations, depending on local plans and needs.
- Services affected that will be slowing down include some primary health care services, elective surgeries in urban centres, endoscopy/cystoscopy procedures, Women and Children’s Programming, diagnostics, therapies, ambulatory care, registration resources, environmental and food and nutrition services, rehab services and home care services.
- Read full release
Temporary Letter of Understanding
On April 17, 2020, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses signed a Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the SHA and other healthcare unions. The LOU is a joint effort to best meet the healthcare needs of Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 pandemic, by ensuring we have the necessary resources in place to respond to all levels of severity.
The temporary LOU is in effect for 28 days after the date the Government of Saskatchewan rescinds the State of Emergency Declaration or as mutually agreed in writing between all of the parties to this LOU.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
SHA Frequently Asked Questions (December 7)
Q: What is a Labour Pool?
- There will be six (6) temporary area labour pools, one (1) in each SHA area, developed to address staffing issues through redeployment, assignment and cohorting of health care employees across Saskatchewan and to address health care needs during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The purpose of the Labour Pool is to facilitate temporary redeployment of health care employees to meet the anticipated increase in COVID-19 health care needs within the province. The temporary redeployment of health care employees could be to another work area, unit, facility, department, community or bargaining unit the employee does not hold a position in or normally work in. Employees will maintain current bargaining unit status if redeployed to perform duties of another bargaining unit. (
- Reference: LOU - provision #1
Q: Can I volunteer for a Labour Pool?
- Yes - Employees may volunteer, including casual/relief interested in working additional hours, to be redeployed through the Labour Pool.
- The request for employees to volunteer will be initiated by the Employers if there is employees available for reassignment, it may be a one-time general request or multiple requests.
- Casual/Relief employees that volunteer for the Labour Pool must provide a new call-in/relief availability form which includes a commitment from the employee to be assigned a specified number of hours or shifts per week. Casual employees who volunteer for the Labour Pool will not have the ability to turn down shifts.
- Reference: LOU - provision #2
Q: Can my Employer/Manager assign me to a Labour Pool without my permission?
- Yes - Employers have the ability to assign employees to the area Labour Pool if the work area or unit they hold a position in has been closed or is subject to a slow down, if there are not enough employee volunteers or if the employees that volunteer are not from the needed classification or the employees that volunteer do not have the equivalent required experience, qualification or abilities.
- Reference: LOU - provision #3
Q: When will redeployment/reassignment of staff take place?
- An employee assignment or redeployment could occur due to (but is not limited to) any of the following:
- Employee reassignment within the unit (which could be the entire department/facility);
- Employee reassignment within the department/service line/program;
- Employee referred to the area Labour Pool for redeployment to another work area, unit, facility, or department;
- Area Labour Pool redeployment could be within a facility/program/service line in the community the employee is currently working in or to a different community;
- Area Labour Pool redeployment could be to a new service, program or facility (including but not limited to SHA test sites, assessment sites or field hospitals);
- Area Labour Pool redeployment could be to a different area Labour Pool or to a different bargaining unit;
- Area Labour Pool redeployment between different area Labour Pool’s or within or between different bargaining units;
- Employee redeployment or assignment to only work at specified facilities/units or a specific facility/unit thereby restricting the employee(s) from working at other facilities/units (referred to as cohorting).
- Reference: LOU - provision #4
Q: How will redeployment/reassignment be determined?
- The Employer will utilize the following principles when Redeploying employees from the Labour Pool:
- Preference will be given to Redeployment to the same classification. The Employer will consider geographic distance and employee schedules, training, skills, abilities, licenses, availability and guaranteed hours for the redeployment assignment. If all of the above are equal, the most junior employee will be Redeployed. The Employer will attempt to Redeploy an employee geographically close to position(s) they hold.
- Redeployment of employees may need to be to a different classification. The Employer will consider geographic distance and employee schedules, transferable skills, required training, abilities, licencing, availability and guaranteed hours for the redeployment assignment. If all of the above are equal, the most junior employee will be Redeployed. The Employers will attempt to Redeploy an employee geographically close to position(s) they hold; and,
- The Employer will not require an employee to perform work or duties that are beyond the employee’s professional scope of practice and is inconsistent with the professional association’s standards of practice and legislation.
- Reference: LOU - provision #7
Q; Can I refuse to be redeployed?
- No - Employees cannot refuse a reassignment or redeployment as outlined in the Letter of Understanding.
- Redeployment might not occur if:
- The employee is refusing to work under The Saskatchewan Employment Act occupational health and safety provisions; or
- The employee requires a medical accommodation that prevents redeployment including but not limited to immune compromised circumstances. Medical verification may be requested in some instances; or
- The employee requires an accommodation based on family status; or
- The employee has an exceptional circumstance that would prevent the Redeployment, including but not limited to transportation limitations to attend the assigned work area.
- Reference: LOU - provision #8
Scheduling & Orientation
Q: Do I continue to work my current schedule?
- Employees will continue to work their regular schedules unless changed in accordance with the CBA or they are assigned to the Labour Pool for Redeployment and a change to their schedule is necessary.
- The Employer will provide reasonable advance notice to an employee that he/she will be assigned to the Labour Pool or required to work an alternate schedule.
- Reference: LOU - provision#9
Q: How long will I be scheduled for work within the Labour Pool?
- An employee may be assigned to the Labour Pool and/or Redeployed numerous times.
- An assignment to the Labour Pool can be for a definite or an indefinite period of time, but will end when this LOU is terminated.
- The duration of Redeployment will depend on COVID-19 health care needs. It could be for a single shift or multiple shifts.
- Reference: LOU - provision #11
Q: Will I be given orientation to a new unit/area/facility?
- Yes - All redeployed employees will be provided with worksite orientation and training fitting with the situation at the receiving site.
- Reference: LOU - provision #12
Q: I am currently in a part-time/full-time position, will I lose hours if I'm redeployed/reassigned?
- No - under this LOU, the guaranteed hours for part-time and full-time employees will not be reduced by the Employers.
- Reference: LOU - provision #15
Q; Will overtime still be paid?
- Yes - Overtime and premium pay provisions in the CBA will continue to be applied and are payable to an employee.
- However, as outlined in the LOU, premium payment to an employee for Employer directed shift or schedule changes will be limited as the pandemic is an emergency circumstance which could not have been foreseen by the Employer.
- Premium payment to an employee will be limited to the first five (5) shifts changed for SUN members.
- LOU - provision #16
Q: I'm a Nurse B, can I be reassigned to a Nurse A position? Vice versa?
- Yes - Employees reassigned or Redeployed to perform the duties of a lower paid classification shall be paid at their current rate of pay.
- Employees reassigned or redeployed to perform the duties of a higher paid classification shall be paid as per the CBA.
- Reference: LOU - provision #18
Q: Are we compensated if we are reassigned outside of our home site/town/city?
- Yes - Employees being Redeployed will be paid mileage, meals and travel time.
- Employees being Redeployed more than fifty (50) kilometres from their home site, will also be reimbursed accommodation expenses as outlined within the relevant CBA.
- Reference: LOU - provision #19
Q: Can I be mandated to work?
- No - the SUN/SAHO Collective Agreement does not allow the SHA)to mandate a SUN member to work, except in circumstances set out in Article 8.01:
- the SUN member must be in an overtime position; and
- emergency circumstances must exist. “Emergency circumstances” are defined as “driven by an unforeseen and/or unpredictable influx of patients and/or unanticipated increase in care required to address patient well being”
- Regardless of whether emergency circumstances exist, a SUN member cannot be required to work if they are not in an overtime position.
- To be clear, a SUN member cannot be mandated to work when they will be paid at their regular rate of pay because they are not in an overtime situation.
Call Back from Vacation
Q: What happens if the SHA calls me back to work during my vacation?
- Article 15.02 of the Collective Agreement requires an employee who has been called back from annual vacation to be paid 2x their regular rate of pay for all hours worked with vacation days being rescheduled.
COVID-19 Member Alert Communications
- September 22 - SHA Limited In Ability To Mandate Members To Work
- September 24 - SHA Effective Staffing Strategy Committee Approves New Temporary Positions
- October 16 - SHA Implements Universal Masking
- November 13 - SUN Endorses SMA Call for Action
- November 18 - What To Do About An Outbreak