April 29, 2020
Honourable Doug Ford sent via e-mail: email@example.com
Office of the Premier
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Re: Clarification on $4 per hour pandemic pay for auxiliary staff
Dear Premier Ford,
Unifor would like to again recognize the importance of the $4 per hour “pandemic pay premium” that the government announced for front-line workers during this crisis. We could all agree that these workers deserve the extra compensation given their hard work and the health risks that these workers face while on the job.
Since the announcement was originally made on April 25, unions and workers have pushed for the extension of eligibility for the premium beyond the initial list of workers summarized in the health care, long-term care, social services and corrections sectors.
We are pleased that the government listened to this feedback and clarified today that the premium would be extended to other workers: paramedics, public health nurses and addictions and mental health workers in hospitals and congregate care settings, and respiratory therapists. We are also pleased that workers in rural and sub-acute hospitals are included in this initiative.
We are asking for one significant clarification in the list of eligible workers in health care and long-term care. So far, government publications have included “auxiliary staff” – including specific classifications like porters, cooks, custodians, housekeeping, laundry facilities and “other key workers.”
We are seeking clarity on those included as “other workers.” For example, health care facilities are also comprised of dietary aides, recreation aides, clerks, skilled trades, stores workers, laboratory and x-ray technologists and many others who have key roles in keeping facilities running and making sure patient needs are met.
We are calling on the government to ensure that all support staff in health care are eligible for the pandemic pay. Since all hospital and long-term care workers, for example, are subject to the emergency orders (including redeployment), they should all be eligible for the pandemic pay premium.
We urge your government to look at filling any gaps and make sure that none of these important workers are left out.