Sask. receives more than 3,700 submissions on labour legislation renewal

Consultation process was inadequate: Opposition

Saskatchewan received more than 3,700 submissions in response to a public consultation paper proposing a comprehensive review of the current provincial labour legislation, according to the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.

The province plans to amalgamate 15 of its labour laws, which include workplace safety legislation, into one comprehensive overarching labour code. It launched a 90-day consultation process in May to gauge reaction to the proposed changes.

"The consultation paper proposed a series of questions for consideration and stakeholders responded," said Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan. "The invaluable feedback received will be critical in determining the scope of our efforts to introduce an employment code that more accurately reflects the contemporary work environment while preserving an effective work-life balance.”

The labour legislation review is intended to restructure and reorganize the existing legislation, eliminate inconsistencies, clarify legislative applications and modernize legislation to reflect today's changing work environment, the government said.

"The consultation period provided the opportunity for the ministry to receive informed advice and counsel," said Morgan.

The consultation process has been inadequate, according to the Saskatchewan NDP. The official Opposition says it plans to launch a public consultation process of its own.

"The process is flawed and it's incomplete," said NDP Labour Critic David Forbes. "For this kind of overhaul of 15 pieces of legislation, the government needed to do much more. It needs to be open and transparent and clearly they didn't do that."

“We have to get labour laws right in order to have a modern and productive economy,” Forbes said. “The success of every employer; the rights, safety and paycheque of every worker and Saskatchewan’s economic stability depend on fair labour laws.”

The NDP will hold nine open consultations, after which Forbes will provide a report of the party’s findings to the Saskatchewan Party government.

The review was prompted by a provincial judge order to make changes to essential services legislation. The submissions will be reviewed and input from the Minister's Advisory Committee will be considered before drafting legislation.

New legislation is expected to be introduced in the fall.

A summary document identifying key themes from the review will be posted online once the analysis is complete, the government said.

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