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Unifor frontline health care workers in Nova Scotia welcome federal top-up program

May 7, 2020 - 12:00 AM

May 7, 2020

HALIFAX – Unifor is pleased to see government respond to Unifor’s demands for premium pay for health care workers and welcomes the latest announcement by Premier Stephen McNeil to provide a cash bonus for health care workers in Nova Scotia amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The tireless work and efforts of frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic must be recognized,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Today’s announcement may be temporary, but the value of these workers to the public is everlasting. I have said this before and I will say it again these workers deserved this premium before the pandemic and they will be deserving of it after.”

This morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reported that the federal government in partnership with provincial governments, agreed to initiate top up of wages of some essential front-line workers. The federal government will contribute $80.5 million and the Nova Scotia provincial government will contribute $13.4 million.

“I know from discussions with our members how stressful it is to care for patients and residents, while earning low wages in an under-funded system,” said Linda MacNeil, Unifor Atlantic Director. “It’s truly unfortunate that it took a pandemic and a federal wage announcement for Premier McNeil to start respecting these workers.”

The Nova Scotia government announced “The Essential Health Care Workers Program” which will provide a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, beginning March 13. The program includes eligible employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and in long-term care, home care and in-home support and emergency health services. However it does not include the workers in Small Option/ Group Homes and Homeless Shelters, this must change. Their service should be recognized as well through this pandemic.

Information about the union's response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype or FaceTime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Hamid Osman at or 647-448-2823 (cell).