Pandemic pay is back for some Ontario workers amid a second wave of COVID-19, specifically in the form of a temporary raise for public sector PSWs.
Premier Doug Ford announced during his daily pandemic press conference on Thursday that PSWs (personal support workers) would start recieving an extra $2 per hour or $3 per hour, effective today.
It is not yet known how long the pay bump will remain in place, though the province does state that it "will be reviewed on a regular basis and could extend through March 31, 2021."
Some 147,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services will recieve temporary $3 wage hikes: 38,000 of them in home and community care, 50,000 in long-term care and 47,000 in community and social services.
PSWs at public hospitals will recieve an extra $2 an hour, but only because they were already making more than their counterparts at other facilities, as explained by Health Minister Christine Elliott during today's announcement.
The temporary wage increase is effective today to eligible workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services in home & community care, #LongTermCare & public hospitals, & similar direct personal support services in social services. https://t.co/z1UAl5AO7x pic.twitter.com/0JfMHbpGmw— ONTHealth (@ONThealth) October 1, 2020
"The Ontario government is supporting personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages," reads a release issued by the province today.
"This investment will help the province attract and retain the workforce needed to care for patients, clients and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic."
The wage enhancement program for personal and direct support workers is the latest of many similar initiatives outlined in the provincial government's $2.8 billion Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19 plan.
"We know the wages of PSWs do not reflect the critical role they have played throughout this pandemic, in addition to their ongoing care of our loved ones," said Premier Ford of the frontline workers, who provide assistance to clients needing help with personal care and daily living tasks.
"Today's temporary investment will bridge that gap and ensure this vital profession receives the appreciation and respect it deserves."
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO
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