Saskatoon

70 people laid off as Saskatoon Health Region looks to balance budget

In a release, the health region said meetings were held on Thursday with unionized staff who are being let go. Notices were sent to non-unionized employees.

Dozens of unionized, non-unionized employees have been met with or given notice

70 people - both unionized and non-unionized - have had their jobs cut by the Saskatoon Health Region.

The Saskatoon Health Region has announced it is cutting the jobs of about 70 people in an effort to balance its budget.

In a release, the health region said meetings were held on Thursday with unionized staff who are being let go. Notices have also been given out to non-unionized employees over the past week.

"We built our sustainability plan on the principles of not compromising patient care and doing everything we can to protect frontline services while delivering health care in the most efficient way possible," Dan Florizone, president and CEO of the health region said in the release.

Saskatoon Health Region president and CEO Dan Florizone spoke to the media after announcing 70 people had been laid off. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

"We had hoped to avoid affecting the jobs of any of our over 11,000 employees. However, we knew that with over 70 per cent of our entire budget devoted to staffing, not affecting jobs was extremely unlikely."

The 2015-16 fiscal year ended with a $35.7-million deficit. Estimates from July have the region trying to fill a $30.8-million gap in the 2016-17 budget.

A plan to save $34 million has initiatives to eliminate the equivalent of 260 positions. Florizone said due to attrition, freezing job hires, vacancy management and putting incentives forward for those interested in early departure, only a portion of the 260 positions will actually be cut.

The health region said due to the collective agreement process, the number of unionized employees who lose their jobs won't be known for a few weeks. Some members may be able to "bump" others with less seniority. 

While he couldn't say whether or not there would be more layoffs, Florizone reiterated that the goal will be making sure patient care isn't compromised.

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