pandemic pay ontario

Ontario hospital workers are protesting lack of pandemic pay

Tens of thousands of frontline healthcare workers across the province are formally protesting the fact that they never actually received the pandemic pay bump Premier Doug Ford promised.

While hospital staff members have been revered as heroes who are the ones putting their lives most at risk every day to help fight COVID-19, many have yet to receive any tangible recognition in the form of hazard pay, which has been granted to cashiers and those in other public-facing positions due to the dangerous nature of their jobs over the past few months.

Around 375,000 hospital and congregate care home workers are still waiting for delayed payments that were announced by Ford back in April — amounting to a $4 hourly raise and monthly bonuses — while another 20,000 or so have been completely excluded despite the fact that groups like the Ontario Hospital Association have urged for the premium to be extended to all frontline staff in such facilities.

Some 75,000 employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor and SEIU Healthcare are now taking a day of action on Wednesday to remind the Province that "it takes a team to care" and that they're still patiently waiting while potentially exposing themselves to the virus on a daily basis.

This is in addition to those who have been vocally protesting Bill 124, a piece of legislation that limits the wage increases of all public sector employees — nurses included — to one per cent in each of the next three years.

A representative for Health Minister Christine Elliot told the media earlier this week that the government is "committed to expediting the work required to get this money onto the paycheques of the critical workers across the province."

But, the lack of action indicates to many that this clearly hasn't been a priority.

“It is up to the Premier to fix the fiasco," the unions said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The fumbling by the province of what could have been a significant signal of appreciation of the work of hospital workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has deflated morale in the workforce and devalued the contribution of some of the care team in fighting a pandemic."

Lead photo by

@oamrs1 at the North York General Hospital demonstration on June 16


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