May 7, 2020
Sent by email: email@example.com
Hon. Doug Ford
Office of the Premier
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Ford,
Unifor recognizes the importance of the $4 per hour “pandemic pay premium” that is being provided for front-line workers during this crisis. We all agree that these front-line workers deserve the extra compensation given their hard work and the health risks that they face while on the job.
After the initial announcement made on April 25, Unifor wrote to you on two occasions for the extension of eligibility for the premium beyond the initial list of workers announced who work in the health care, long-term care, social services and corrections sectors.
We appreciate that your government did take some corrective action by adding paramedics, public health nurses and addictions and mental health workers in hospitals and congregate care settings and respiratory therapists. You also correctly clarified that workers in the various hospital workplaces (e.g. rural, post-acute, children’s and psychiatric) are included in this initiative.
We are however, extremely disappointed that many of our front-line hospital workers are ineligible for the pandemic pay in hospitals.
The list of “auxiliary staff” in the government’s overview includes porters, cooks, custodians, housekeeping and laundry. This list leaves out many front-line workers who play a key role in keeping hospitals running and making sure patient needs are met.
In long-term care homes and retirement homes, all non-management front-line workers are eligible for the pandemic pay, which is the right decision. Yet, many hospital workers, even in the same classifications are excluded. A dietary aide in long-term care, retirement, or corrections would receive pandemic pay but not in a hospital. Many other important classifications are also excluded including, recreation aides, clerks, skilled trades, store workers, laboratory and x-ray technologists and more. They are critical to the operations of hospitals and subject to the same restrictions placed on their rights by the emergency orders.
We urge your government to look at filling any gaps and make sure that none of these important workers are left out.