As the Government of Canada works with provinces and territories to boost the wages of essential workers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on May 7 that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to share the costs of wage top-ups.
The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers as part of the government’s economic plan to help Canadians and businesses through the pandemic. Each province or territory will determine which workers will be eligible for support as well as how much support they will receive. The Ontario government announced a $4 an hour pay increase for some essential workers on April 25. Workers eligible for the payment include staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities in addition to some staff in hospitals and workers providing home and community care.
“Workers are risking their health to provide us with essential care and services, and we need to make sure that they are paid properly for the work they do every day,” Trudeau said. “We’re stepping up, and working with the provinces and territories, to give a much-needed wage boost to Canadians who are helping keep our country and economy strong during this difficult time.”
The Ontario pay increase will provide $4 per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee’s hourly wage. Employees that work over 100 hours per month will receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for the next four months as well.
“Canada’s front line workers are dealing directly with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by taking care of Canadians in our hospitals and nursing homes,” said Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. “They deserve our support. This measure will help workers critical to the current COVID-19 response get the compensation they need.”