The Ontario government is investing an additional $373 million to extend the temporary wage enhancement for personal support workers and direct support workers. This increase will continue until March 31, 2022 and will help attract and retain workers in these critical sectors to protect Ontario’s progress while continuing to take a cautious and careful approach to reopening.
“Personal support workers and direct support workers are essential in our fight against COVID-19, and we are extending these temporary wage enhancements in recognition of their dedication to protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians during the pandemic,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Our government is protecting our progress by ensuring we attract and retain these essential healthcare workers so that our province’s most vulnerable patients continue to have access to the high-quality care they need.”
The government is extending the wage enhancement for over 158,000 personal support workers and direct support workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services or direct support services in home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services. This temporary wage enhancement includes:
- $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;
- $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;
- $2 per hour for approximately 10,000 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
- $3 per hour for approximately 60,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services to those who need assistance with the activities of daily living.
Since October 1, 2020, Ontario has invested over $1.3 billion to temporarily enhance wages for personal support workers and direct support workers to help stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest temporary wage increase builds on the government’s previous wage enhancement extension on August 23, 2021, which was set to expire on October 31, 2021. The government continues to explore a permanent solution to address a range of longstanding recruitment and retention issues among personal support workers and direct support workers.
“This investment is a recognition of the hard work and ongoing sacrifices that personal support workers and direct support workers continue to make to keep Ontarians, including our province’s most vulnerable, safe and healthy,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, President of the Treasury Board. “As a government, we are committed to improving home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals and the social services sector in every corner of this province.”
“Throughout the pandemic, personal support workers have provided quality care to our residents,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “They are the backbone of long-term care, and by improving their work experience in the sector, we will meet our commitment to recruit and retain thousands of personal support workers over the next few years.”
“Personal and direct support workers continue to do an incredible job of ensuring that children and adults with special needs and developmental disabilities are well cared for in our vulnerable settings,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “We have said throughout the pandemic that we will ensure that they are recognized for this important work, and we continue to deliver on that promise with the extension of the wage enhancement.”
- Personal support workers provide a wide range of services in home and community care, which also reduces or delays the need for more costly care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
- In October 2020, Ontario provided $461 million to temporarily enhance wages for personal support workers and direct support workers. This was followed by additional investments of $549 million total for three extensions of the temporary wage increase on March 18, June 11, and August 23, 2021.
- Through the COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan, the government invested $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers. It is one of the largest health care recruiting and training programs in Ontario’s history.