For the second time in less than a month, front-line health-care workers have rallied in Ottawa, calling on the Ontario government to expand its pandemic pay boost to more workers.
In mid-May, unionized hospital workers rallied outside the Queensway Carleton Hospital to demand more health-care workers be added to the $4 per hour raise that was introduced in late April.
On Tuesday, similar demonstrations were held outside the Ottawa Hospital’s Civic and General campuses.
Among the workers excluded from pandemic pay are:
- Physiotherapists, physio assistants and rehabilitation assistants
- Occupational Therapists, and assistants
- Speech Therapists, dieticians and dietician techs
- Social workers
- Sonographers (those who do Ultrasounds)
- Pharmacists and pharmacy techs
- Physician’s assistants
- Medical radiation techs (x-ray etc…)
- Lab technicians
Holding signs that said “we’re essential,” the workers say they’ve felt “invisible” during the pandemic and they are demonstrating to try and get the recognition they feel they deserve.
In a statement to CTV News, the provincial government says, “We wish we could provide pandemic pay to every single frontline worker who has contributed to the fight against COVID-19; however, unfortunately, there is a limit to the amount of funding provided by the federal government through our shared agreement and we are not able to expand the pandemic pay program beyond the over 375,000 employees already deemed eligible.”
Money hasn’t arrived for qualifying workers
In late May, the Ontario government told CTV News, they are working to get the pandemic pay into workers’ hands as quickly as possible.
Despite being announced in April, thousands of employees have said they have yet to see the pay increase reflected on their paycheques.
The government said, starting in June, ministries would be providing written funding commitments to employer partners that receive direct government funding, as well as service delivery managers, followed quickly by the flow of money.
With files from CTV News Kitchener’s Heather Senoran.