SAULT STE. MARIE — After a SooToday report outlined concerns raised by a Sault long-term care home personal support worker (PSW) who is still waiting, along with her workmates, for a promised temporary $3 per hour pay increase, NDP MPP France Gélinas is calling for a permanent raise for the province’s PSWs.
The Ontario government announced Oct. 1, 2020 its support for PSWs in the province’s long-term care homes by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance their wages, a move designed to attract and retain workers needed to care for LTC home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the local PSW told us she and her coworkers have yet to see that money, Gelinas, NDP member for Nickel Belt in the Ontario Legislature, demanded Thursday the Ford government “flow the wage boost immediately and give PSWs a permanent raise.”
“As part of their plan to overhaul home care and long-term care in Ontario, New Democrats are working to get PSWs a permanent $5 an hour raise compared to their pre-pandemic wages,” Gélinas stated.
“Gélinas’ call comes following a SooToday report that PSWs working in some local long-term care homes are still labouring away at the same old wages, no pandemic pay in sight,” the NDP wrote in a news release.
“PSWs put their hearts and souls into caring for our loved ones, and they deserve a decent wage for the hard work they do,” Gélinas said.
“The Ford government must take responsibility for the inexcusable delay in flowing pandemic pay, and urgently rush the wage boost to PSWs in Sault Ste. Marie. And, the NDP will keep working to make personal support work full time and well paid, starting with a permanent, $5 an hour raise for PSWs.
The province has said the promised temporary, $3 an hour raise is coming.
“It is important to remember that payments to eligible staff will be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2020, meaning staff will receive their wage increase regardless of delays. Some long-term care homes have begun receiving payments, and our government is working hard to extend this to all homes,” wrote Scott Clark, who serves as Press Secretary and Issues Manager for Sault MPP and Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, in an email to SooToday received Monday.
There was no explanation given for the delays.
Meanwhile, Gélinas stated “PSWs have been working under particularly difficult conditions during the pandemic, and are more run off their feet than ever. They shouldn’t have to wait months for their wage boost to come. Ford was already doing less than the bare minimum by promising PSWs a small, temporary wage top-up. It’s not good enough for the government to, more than three months later, suggest the cheque’s in the mail and walk away from PSWs who desperately deserve more help and better pay.”