But there's a caveat in the program
Essential workers in Manitoba may soon receive a cash incentive of about $1,000 in recognition of their efforts at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Premier Brian Pallister announced.
An estimated 100,000 grocery and retail workers, as well as those in the law enforcement, health care and social care sectors, are expected to qualify for the province’s “hero pay”.
The one-time incentive is for those who have “made sacrifices in their professional and personal lives to protect all Manitobans, especially those most vulnerable,” Pallister said.
The pay premium will be taken from a $120m fund unveiled by the province last month. About 75% of the funding will come from the federal government.
READ MORE: 'You deserve a raise': Canada to boost pay for frontliners
The final amount reflected on each paycheque, however, will depend on the overall number of applicants accepted into the program.
Leaders from labour groups and the business community, representing more than 100,000 workers and 17,000 enterprises, shared their insights and voted on the terms of the proposal. The group agreed on targeting lower- and middle-income earners with the program.
In May, the federal government announced it had entered into cost-sharing agreements with provinces and territories to raise the wages of essential workers making less than $2,500 a month.
“It will be up to each province and territory to determine who exactly qualifies for this wage increase, but the bottom line is this – if you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re still making minimum wage, you deserve a raise,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
READ MORE: Pandemic pay: Ontario raises frontliners' hourly wage
Who qualifies for ‘hero pay’?
Manitoba essential workers who earn $2,500 a month or less qualify for the incentive; their earnings must not exceed a total of $6,250 during the 2.5 months that the province was placed under a state of emergency.
Qualified frontliners – who worked full time or part time between 20 March and 29 May – must have rendered at least 200 cumulative hours of service, or were expected to work the same amount had they not been ordered to self-isolate. They must also not have been covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit prior to application.
Manitoba will begin receiving online applications from today until 18 June.