It appears the UCP government is following through on its promise to find efficiencies and cut back on "Alberta's spending problem."
In letters to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) on Friday (Nov. 30), the government said up to 6,000 public sector jobs could be eliminated. The letters are required in the bargaining process for the 2020 collective agreements and outline cuts the province could make. They aren't official notice of layoffs.
The cuts could impact 2,500 government employees in various ministries, and many more in Alberta Health Services including housekeepers, food service employees, administrative support, home care staff, laundry staff, licensed practical nurses, and health care aides.
The letters said the government will use attrition, vacancy management, and redeployment to eliminate staff up until March 31, 2020. After that, the government will use "all options available under the collective agreement to ensure the government is on track to implement key priorities and support the government's path to balance in 2020-2023."
NDP Leader Rachel Notley calls the potential cuts "cruel and heartless" and says they are a betrayal of what Premier Jason Kenney promised in the election campaign.
In a Friday statement, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews said Alberta spends more on services per capita than other large provinces, often with inferior results. Toews said the government made it clear that there is a need for a review of government programs to make sure they are efficient.
Dennis Holliday, head of negotiations and labour relations for Alberta Health Services, said in another letter to the union that thousands of positions could be at risk. Holliday says while the health care budget had been increased by $201 million this year, Alberta's growing and aging population means more efficiency and focus is needed in health care spending.
That same day, the United Nurses of Alberta learned that 750 of their front line workers could be losing their jobs as AHS downsizes.