Ontario’s Ford Government Supporting Frontline Heroes of COVID-19 with Pandemic Pay

Government Recognizes the Dedication and Sacrifice of Province’s Frontline Workers

A COVID-19 News Release from he Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted April 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Grocery store employees are among many still working at businesses considered essential by government. They risk their health serving the rest of us and deserve to be paid fairly for it. And how about tonting to pay them fairly when the worst of this pandemic is hopefully behind us?

(A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – This news release came shortly after Niagara At Large posted a commentary this April 25th, praising curbside waste collectors and other frontline workers out there who are providing “essential services,” in some cases for compensation that is at or only slightly higher than a minimum wage that was capped not so long ago by the Ford government.

In our commentary, we argued that if these workers are providing services that are so essential to our lives, they should be treated more generously in the wage and benefit department for all time – and not just “temporarily” as the Ford government is planning to do here.)

Now here is the Ford government’s News Release –

TORONTO — In recognition of the dedication, long hours and increased risk of working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government is providing frontline staff with a temporary pandemic payment.

This increase will provide four dollars per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee’s hourly wage. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months.

This means that eligible employees working an average of 40 hours per week would receive $3,560 in additional compensation. Those eligible to receive the payment will be staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals.

The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“During these dark days, the Ontario spirit continues to shine through with everyday acts of heroism, courage, and compassion by our frontline workers,” said Premier Ford. “These people put themselves in harm’s way to care for our sick and vulnerable citizens. I am truly grateful, as are the people of Ontario, for their service, and it’s time we give something back to those who sacrifice so much day in and day out.”

Staff providing frontline clinical services, along with those providing support services, such as cleaning and meal preparation, will be eligible to receive the pandemic payment. The additional compensation is temporary and would begin flowing immediately and continue for 16 weeks.

“The pandemic payment recognizes the valiant efforts of our frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “These heroic workers are delivering critical services that support all Ontarians, including the most vulnerable members of our communities, often putting themselves or their loved ones at risk. They are saving lives and we owe them an incredible debt of gratitude.”

Signs like this have become commonplace in neighbourhoods across Ontario and other parts of Canada and the U.S. in recent weeks.

“It is vital that we retain our frontline health care workers as we continue our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are taking further actions to continue to ensure that our healthcare workers are supported, and the health care sector maintains a safe staffing level, especially in places where it is needed the most.”

These measures build on steps the government has already taken to support frontline workers, including providing free emergency child care and securing necessary medical equipment and supplies. 

The Ontario government remains committed to using every resource it has to support frontline workers as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Background Information

Pandemic Pay Provides Support for Frontline Workers Fighting COVID-19

Additional Resources

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19

Immediately Below, Niagara At Large is also posting a brief statement by Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath on this move –

Ontario’s pandemic payments should be retroactive to beginning of state of emergency

Andrea Horwath, Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Leader

QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, released the following statement on Saturday’s announcement of a wage top-up for Ontario’s heroes:

“Our frontline workers, whether in long-term care facilities or hospital kitchens, have done extraordinary work since the beginning of this state of emergency. It’s wrong that it took so long for this small wage top up to arrive, and I’m asking Doug Ford to make this additional pay retroactive to the day the State of Emergency was declared, so that people‘s sacrifice and hard work to keep us all safe is recognized.”

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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