Toronto: The Ontario government yesterday announced it is investing $239 million to extend temporary wage enhancements for personal support workers and direct support workers in publicly funded home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors.
These temporary wage enhancements will continue until June 30, 2021 and will help stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, said a statement.
“Our government values personal support workers and direct support workers for the critical role they play in providing care for our most vulnerable patients and the sacrifices they are making during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These frontline health care heroes are determined, caring and compassionate professionals and these wage enhancements are recognition of the extraordinary work they do each and every day.”
The province has been providing a temporary wage increase since October 1, 2020 to over 158,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services, including:
- $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 10,000 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
- $3 per hour for approximately 60,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.
The Ontario government will continue to review the temporary wage enhancement to inform next steps after June 30, 2021, the statement said.
In October 2020, the temporary wage enhancement was announced as part of the province’s Covid-19 fall preparedness plan, which included an investment of $26.3 million to support personal support workers and supportive care workers.
The government also recently announced an investment of over $115 million to accelerate training for up to 8,200 new personal support workers for Ontario’s health and long-term care sectors. Registration for the program is available through the Ontario College Application Service.
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. On March 24, 2021, the government will release the 2021 Ontario Budget. It will focus on protecting people’s health, with a plan to defeat Covid-19, and support people and jobs.
- Personal support workers provide a wide range of services in home and community care, which also reduces or delays the need for more costly care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
- Through the Covid-19 Fall Preparedness Plan, the government invested $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers. It is one of the largest health care recruiting and training programs in Ontario history. To date, more than 600 personal support workers, 500 nurses and 130 supportive care workers have been added across the province.
- The temporary wage enhancement will be reviewed on a regular basis and is intended to extend until June 30, 2021, in connection with regulations made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to Covid-19) Act, 2020.