'Industry has been consulted but the people of the province have been left in the dark.'
Regina (15 Oct. 2009) - The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE) is sounding the alarm on a plan by the province's pro-business government to privatize certain inspections now done by independent government employees.
The union has launched a public information campaign - starting with this video - to draw attention to the risks associated with the plan.
"The government of Saskatchewan is looking at turning over its responsibility to inspect, license and monitor mechanical equipment - such as elevators, amusement rides, boilers and other pressure vessels - to private interests," SGEU says.
"The public has not been made aware of any plans to shift responsibility for safety inspections from public to private hands. Industry has been consulted but the people of the province have been left in the dark."
The union says it is important to "let the people of Saskatchewan know" what is happening and what is at stake.
"The licensing and inspections branch of the ministry of corrections, public safety and policing is proposing to move safety inspections from the public service to a delegated authority. This new authority would be governed by a board of directors that would include industry representation," SGEU says.
This will mean lower standards and less accountability, it adds.
"The government of Saskatchewan has a responsibility to ensure public safety and is accountable to the public for its actions. Private corporations are responsible to their shareholders and are not accountable to the people of the province," the union argues.
"When public safety is the issue, citizens have a right to expect high standards of accountability. Industry self-regulation too often means lower standards, inadequate reporting, limited monitoring and reduced compliance."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE