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Province introduces legislation to limit protests near hospitals

The Government of Saskatchewan is introducing legislation that will protect the health workforce, patients and families by ensuring they have safe access to hospitals, and expand workforce flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Public Health (Safe Access to Hospitals) Amendment Act, 2021 was introduced today in the Saskatchewan legislature to amend The Public Health Act, 1994.

These amendments provide the ability to create and enforce safe access zones around hospitals, so that patients and health care providers are protected from harassment. A 50-metre safe access zone would prevent sidewalk protests near hospitals that could potentially result in delays or harassment for people going into the facilities.

"Patients and families deserve to be able to access health services safely and without facing interference or intimidation," Health Minister Paul Merriman said. "This provision will also support our hospitals and staff in providing health services with safety, dignity and privacy."

Lawful labour picketing will still be allowed within the safe access zones. The safe access zone provision in the legislation will expire two years after the legislation comes into force.

The legislation will also enable additional immunizers to support vaccination programs, including influenza vaccine, COVID-19 boosters and vaccines for children aged five to 11. This will improve the province's capacity to provide immunizations.




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