In October, the Ontario government announced a temporary wage increase for personal support workers (PSWs) in home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sector. It’s an increase of either two dollars (for those in hospitals) or three dollars (everyone else), and it is currently scheduled to last until August 23rd, 2021.
While this is welcomed and reflects the growing recognition of the value that personal support workers bring to our community, it’s only one step among many others the government needs to take immediately. The original pandemic pay of $4 should be made permanent—and should apply to all front-line staff. In addition to a wage increase, staff deserve full-time work, job security, access to paid sick leave, and benefits. We need improvements in health & long-term care to apply to all workers in these sectors, and others in community and social services and retirement homes. Care is not provided by a single job classification—it is provided by a team, and all members of the team deserve to be compensated fairly.
PSWs have sacrificed so much, before and during this pandemic. So have developmental service workers, shelter workers, and others in long-term care, health care, and retirement homes. They deserve better—and this government has the power to do the right thing—today.