Government Further Extends Temporary Pandemic Pay

The Ontario government has extended provincial wage enhancement for direct support workers in health and social services for another five (5) months.   Announced this morning, the temporary wage enhancement that provides eligible employees with between $2 and $3 per hour wage increase will continue until March 31, 2022 in an effort to help attract and retain workers in critical sectors impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The extension of this funding will impact over 158,000 personal support workers and direct support workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services or direct support services in home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services.

This temporary wage enhancement 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 10,000 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
  • $3 per hour for approximately 60,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services to those who need assistance with the activities of daily living.

First introduced on October 1, 2020, this enhancement represents a reduction in the initial Temporary Pandemic Pay Program that was in place from April to August 2020.  Premier Ford previously indicated that the August 23, 2021 extension to October 31, 2021 would be the last extension of the “temporary” pay with some type of permanent wage enhancement to be rolled out thereafter.  Now, however, the government has indicated it is continuing to explore a permanent solution to address a range of longstanding recruitment and retention issues among personal support workers and direct support workers.

This latest extension will take this government to the very precipice of the next provincial election and likely represents a key pillar of the Progressive Conservative party’s election campaign.   Hopefully the government is aware of the recent developments related to proxy pay equity which will have a significant impact (and potentially significant liability) for publicly funded employers and their funder.

PooranLaw will continue to monitor legal developments related to pandemic pay and compensation affecting Broader Public Sector agencies.  In the meantime, if you require legal assistance, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team.

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.