Ford pushes employers to deliver pandemic pay
At his daily news conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford urged employers who haven’t done so to “start dishing out” a temporary pandemic pay bump more than three months after his government first announced the program, the rollout of which has proven frustrating for many frontline workers.
The province has released funds to more than 2,000 employers across Ontario, Ford said. The pandemic pay period will apply retroactively to April 24 and last until Aug. 13, paying eligible workers an extra $4 an hour with the potential for additional lump-sump payments.
“We got you the money, start dishing it out. These people are in need of it,” Ford said to employers.
Workplaces eligible for pandemic pay include long-term care and retirement homes, home and community care settings, emergency shelters and correctional facilities.
Ford singled out hospitals, telling them to “get your act together” before he thanked institutions that have made the additional extra pay available to their staff.
“This has taken way, way too long. Let’s get the money into the people’s pockets. That’s the reason we put it out there,” Ford said.
While the Ontario government announced the pandemic pay program at the end of April, it wasn’t until June that it was prepared to roll out funding, sector-by-sector, according to a provincial government webpage. Health-care employers were supposed to be the last to start receiving the funds, with the rollout scheduled to begin the week of June 29.
Who is eligible for the temporary pay bump has been an ongoing controversy. After its initial announcement, the province had to expand the program to include more workers, such as paramedics and respiratory therapists. But some frontline occupations remain ineligible, a sore spot for many. In mid-June, a group of Ontario labour unions released a statement calling pandemic pay a “bungled” program due the province’s delayed rollout and the many workers excluded.
Ontario reported 91 new cases of COVID -19 and four additional deaths on Tuesday, the second day in a row that new infections have numbered fewer than 100. Monday saw 88 new cases across the province, while more than 42,000 COVID -19 tests were processed in the last two days.
Ottawa reported just one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday and no new deaths. It was the only health unit region in Eastern Ontario to report any new cases. firstname.lastname@example.org