Pandemic pay: Ontario raises frontliners' hourly wage

An estimated 350,000 workers will receive a short-term pay hike and special bonuses

Pandemic pay: Ontario raises frontliners' hourly wage

Ontario is raising the hourly pay of hundreds of thousands of workers who continually risk their lives serving on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An estimated 350,000 workers will receive a short-term increase of $4 in their hourly wages as part of the ‘pandemic pay’ unveiled by Premier Doug Ford, in recognition of “those who sacrifice so much day in and day out.”

“These people put themselves in harm’s way to care for our sick and vulnerable citizens,” Ford said.

The 16-week pandemic pay will be given to medical care, social care and support services staff at hospitals, retirement homes, emergency shelters, and other similar institutions. Workers in the correctional and youth justice system are also entitled to the premium.

READ MORE: COVID-19: How the world is caring for frontline workers

Apart from receiving a boost in their basic pay, employees who render more than 100 hours of service a month are also eligible for a monthly bonus of $250 over the next four months.

Ford said those who clock in an average of 40 hours a week will likely earn more than $3,500 on top of their compensation package. This is the province’s way of rewarding frontliners, he added.

The new set of incentives could also help essential sectors attract talent, Ford said. The move is vital amid the shortage of workers equipped to handle disease outbreaks.

The premier also said he wished Ontario had the capacity to boost pay right from the start of the crisis, but added the province needed additional funding from the federal government.

READ MORE: How LinkedIn is helping essential businesses recruit frontliners

The initiative, Ford believes, is only the beginning: Ontario needs more.

“The federal government played a massive role in stepping up,” he said. “We need them to do their part when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable in long-term care homes.”

“The situation we’re all facing is unprecedented and it’s extremely serious.”

The COVID-19 crisis, he added, has “clearly shown the deeply-rooted, long-standing cracks in our long-term care system. We need to do better. And we will do better”

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