Limits imposed on contracting out in Saskatchewan

Health region could not prove cost advantage
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 11/25/2010

One of Saskatchewan’s largest unions is claiming a partial victory after challenging a provincial government initiative to shorten surgical wait times by contracting out some surgeries and dental procedures to third parties.

CUPE sought an expedited arbitration last month after the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region signed a contract with Omni Surgery Centre, a private surgical clinic in Regina, to perform up to 500 knee and dental surgeries by the end of this fiscal year. The health region also announced plans to sign a longer term contract for CT (computer axial tomography) scanning and surgical procedures.

The provincial government, which has directed its health regions to look at third parties to ease wait times across Saskatchewan, said knee surgeries would cost $179 less at Omni and dental procedures would be $76 cheaper.