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Paramedics, other front line workers will get COVID raises

The province has expanded the $4 an hour pay increase to more front-line workers combating COVID-19.

Paramedics, public health nurses and addictions and mental health workers in hospitals and congregate care settings, and respiratory therapists will now be eligible to receive the expanded pandemic pay, the province announced Tuesday.

The pandemic pay was initially announced Saturday and eligible workers included staff working in long-term care and retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, home and community care providers, and some staff in hospitals.

Eligible staff who work more than 100 hours per month will see an additional $250 per month for the next 16 weeks.

The expansion of the pay raises come after a series of discussions between the province and OPSEU, the union representing public-sector employees in Ontario.

“As soon as the original plan was made public, my office was in touch with government officials lobbying hard for additions to the eligibility list. And while today’s expansion is not everything we asked for, I applaud the government for listening and moving the yardsticks,” OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

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