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Progress for Personal Support Workers!  After months of stonewalling, the Liberal government has promised to look into where money meant for PSWs actually ended up going and to make sure PSWs get their due. 

Last November, the Liberal government gave money amounting to $1.49/hour to improve the wages and poor working conditions of Personal Support Workers (PSWs) in home care.  But many employers did not use the $1.49 to benefit PSWs directly. 

Now, following a meeting with senior officials from the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care earlier this week, we are proud to announce that we have received a commitment that the Ministry will:

·  Undertake a full review to determine where the funding received by organizations was spent and why money did not go to directly benefit PSWs;

·  Provide funds in the April 2008 budget that will be mandated to go directly towards increases for PSWs (specific areas to be identified).

PSWs deserved every cent of the $1.49 to improve wages, benefits, and travel costs.

CUPE 4308 and CUPE PSWs, with support of CUPE Ontario, have been pressuring the Ministry for months to make sure the government kept its commitment to improve the PSWs’ working conditions. 

CUPE brought its message to the public, to our union and to our communities through rallies, actions and lobbying.  Finally, in September 2007, a one-on-one meeting was held with George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, to let him know that the $1.49 had to go directly to improve the wages and working conditions of PSWs.  The Minister agreed with us and committed to address this serious issue. 

And here we are, with a fresh commitment to review where the money went and to make sure the money is there in the next provincial budget. 

Congratulations to all PSWs for their perseverance and their hard work in getting the government to do the right thing!  We will watch the government’s progress closely, and, of course, follow up to make sure the review happens and the money flows when and where it is supposed to.