Ontario temporarily raising wages for personal support workers

Oct 1 2020, 5:27 pm

The Ontario government is investing $461 million to temporarily increase wages for personal support workers (PSWs) starting today.

On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford announced that over 147,000 PSWs in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors will get a $3 per hour increase.

“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,” Ford said.

“Today’s temporary investment will bridge that gap and ensure this vital profession receives the appreciation and respect it deserves.”

Ford became visibly emotional when talking about the PSW who looked after his mother.

Starting on Thursday, here is the eligibility for the temporary pay increase:

  • $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care
  • $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care
  • $2 per hour for approximately 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals
  • $3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living

This also adds to the COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, which includes an investment of $26.3 million to support PSWs and supportive care workers.

Around $14 million will be given for the personal support worker training funds to continue training PSWs in the home and community care and long-term care sectors.

And $10.3 million for the new Personal Support Worker Return of Service Program, to recruit and retain recent graduates to work in long-term care homes.

“This program will provide a $5,000 incentive to 2,000 recent graduates for a six-month commitment to work in these settings,” the release notes.

There will also be $1.3 million to train 160 supportive care workers to provide basic home support services and $700,000 in accelerated personal support worker training for 220 students with prior health experience to practice in Ontario.

“Personal support workers and direct support workers care for some of our most vulnerable patients and have been critical in the fight against COVID-19,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

“The pandemic has created additional pressures on these workers and as cases increase and we prepare for the upcoming flu season, this wage enhancement recognizes their important role in providing care for those in need.”

On Wednesday, health officials forecasted Ontario to report 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases in the first half of October as the province heads in an upward trajectory.

Cases are currently doubling approximately every 10 to 12 days, as the growth in cases was initially in the 20 to 39 age group but is now “climbing in all age groups.”

The health officials said that Ontario may see between 200 and 300 patients with the virus in ICU beds per day if cases continue to grow.

While Ford said he will not roll back the province to Stage 2 yet, he did note that “everything is on the table.”

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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