Its only temporary but at least until next spring Ontario’s PSW workers will be getting raises. Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Thursday, and in answer to reporters’ question said he would do everything he can to make the new pay scaled permanent. The raises went into effect today.
The pay raise, which will be reviewed regularly and could be in effect until March 2021, includes:
$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 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals
$3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.
The Ontario government is spending about $460 million to deliver this pay bump to the workers.
“As we enter the second wave we need to stabilize our PSW workforce,” Ford said Thursday. “We need to make sure that when our loved ones need care there is a PSW there to support them and that means retaining our PSW’s and getting more into the system.”
For the past few days reporters have been pressing the Premier, Health Minister Elliott and Chief Public Health officer Dr. David Williams to tell them exactly what would be the set of numbers they would need to see to impose tougher restrictions or even a lockdown. Williams refused to be pinned down to a specific number or scenario, saying his team would look at situations region by region and even neighbourhood by neighbourhood. He made it clear again today as he did yesterday, that it is unlikely future measures will be province-wide as it was in the early weeks of the pandemic. Ford stressed the precarious position faced by the hospitality industry, saying “they are hanging on by their fingernails,” and indicating that he wants to try to keep them open as long as possible.
The province is reporting a backlog of more than 80,000 COVID tests that await processing. The Premier hinted that the province’s universities may have a role to play soon in helping relieve the backlog; but it wasn’t clear whether he was suggesting it would be in the form of actually performing tests or providing lab technicians.