Schreiner calls on expanded eligibility for Ontario pandemic pay

Guelph's MPP points out inequalities in the eligibility.

Provincial Green Party leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner called on the Ontario government to expand eligibility for pandemic pay on Thursday, arguing that there is inequality in the financial relief available among front health workers.

“It is not fair to recognize some frontline health workers for their heroic contributions during COVID-19 and not others,” he said in a release, referencing the relief fund from the province.

“Workers standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our hospitals to battle this virus should all have access to pandemic pay because they are all dealing with increased workloads and pressure.”

Ontario’s temporary pandemic pay aims to provide additional support and relief to frontline workers, encourage staff to continue working or hire others and help to maintain safe staffing levels and the operation of critical frontline services.

It comes as either a $4 top-up on based on hourly wages, automatic for those that are eligible.

Those that work at least 100 hours in a designated 4-week period, you will also be eligible to receive an additional lump sum payment of $250 for that period.

Schreiner points out holes in the eligibility requirements, saying “these omissions might have been an oversight, but they are hurtful to excluded frontline workers who are ensuring our healthcare system functions during this unprecedented time.”

“The province should expand eligibility to include primary care nurses and doctors seeing high risk patients and staffing testing centres; to health care workers in private settings such as PSWs and RPNs; to medical laboratory workers and medical radiation technologists in hospitals; to registered midwives; and to others providing essential healthcare during this crisis.”

(Reporting by Eli Ridder)