‘Why isn't it being offered to all of the health care workers in our hospitals, and other congregate settings?’
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) called on the federal government to “step up” and extend the pandemic pay to all front-line health workers.
"Pandemic pay is vital recognition of the sacrifices these workers are making to get us through this pandemic, but there's a void. Why isn't it being offered to all of the health care workers in our hospitals, and other congregate settings?" said Warren Thomas, OPSEU President.
Thomas noted that the federal government has indicated that is has ran out of funding after offering pandemic pay to 375,000 workers. However, there are thousands more “who are facing exactly the same kinds of risks and hardships.”
Thomas also noted that Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said he would love to extend the pandemic pay to all workers if only the province had the money, and that is where the federal government comes in.
"The Trudeau Liberals need to step up and fill this arbitrary and unfair void."
Ontario is one of the provinces hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 30,000 cases and more than 2,300 deaths so far. And the union noted that outbreaks still happening in long-term care homes, manufacturing, and meat-processing plants, and amongst migrant workers who are vital to agriculture. “The burden on health care workers is just getting worse,” said Thomas.
"It's imperative for the federal government to show its support for all of Ontario's front-line health heroes and come to the table with more support. The sooner the engine of the national economy emerges from the pandemic, the sooner Canada will be able to recover. Prime Minister, Ontario needs your help," he said.
In May, Nova Scotia announced it will contribute $13.4 million on top of the federal government’s $80.5 million contribution to the Essential Health Care Workers Program, giving workers a bonus of up to $2,000 for a month, retroactive to March 13.
Also in May, ADP Canada found that 44 per cent of frontline workers outside of healthcare are receiving financial support from their employer, compared to just 24 per cent of all employees, found the survey of 756 working Canadians from April 14 to 15, 2020.
Sixty per cent of healthcare workers in Canada reported anxiety at levels surpassing an accepted threshold for clinical screening for the condition, and this is most prevalent among those whose needs for personal protective equipment have not been met, according to a new report.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has developed three free crisis response training programs designed to help front-line workers deal with the stress of COVID-19.