Hearings open into law discriminating against northern workers

'This is an old, antiquated, and quite frankly discriminatory, piece of legislation.' - SFL


Regina (9 August 2006) - Public meetings began this week to examine an outdated provincial law exempting workers in Northern Saskatchewan from protection given to other provincial employees under the Labour Standards Act.

Hours of work and overtime provisions in the law do not apply to northern workers. The hearings opened Aug. 8 in La Loche and end Sept. 14 in Prince Albert.

"This is an old, antiquated, and quite frankly discriminatory, piece of legislation," says Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. "It's time employers in the north moved into the 21st century. The exemption needs to be removed."

The change is endorsed by labour groups across the province, including the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE).

The review was announced in May by NDP Premier Lorne Calvert. The exemption dates back to 1953, when it was first adopted to encourage development in northern areas of Saskatchewan. The review will be carried out under the supervision of MLA Ron Harper, who is encouraging the public to participate.

"Northerners play an important role in our provincial economy, our culture, and our way of life," says Harper.

"These consultations are important, and I need your help to make them a success. I will report to the premier and government on what actions, if any, the government should consider. I look forward to hearing from you." NUPGE

More information:Northern Overtime Exemption website