The leaders of several Ontario health care organizations have released a joint open letter to premier Doug Ford seeking immediate clarity on the government’s parameters regarding pandemic pay for frontline workers during COVID-19.
On April 25, the province announced frontline workers would be recognized with temporary pandemic pay for the challenges they face keeping Ontarians healthy, safe and informed through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A month later, it is still not clear whether the efforts of all of our healthcare workers will be recognized or if pandemic pay is restricted to a subset of employees,” the open letter says. “Also, funding has yet to flow to the frontline and in fact for those frontline workers whose organizations are funded by the Ministry of Health and/or LHINs have yet to receive clarity on whether or not they will be considered frontline workers eligible for pandemic pay.
“This is contributing to extreme morale issues at the frontline at a time when staff need to be supported most. It is also creating unnecessary conflict for employers who are left trying to explain to their employees why they cannot provide neither clarity nor the pay itself.”
The organizations are urging government to immediately communicate implementation details – including confirmation the funding is for all frontline workers – and release funding so workers can see the benefit now as the economy opens up while they’re still working to contain the pandemic.
Eleven health care organizations funded by the Ministry of Health and Local Health Integration Networks co-signed letter, representing tens of thousands of frontline employees. The organizations include: Ontario Pharmacists Association, Ontario Hospital Association, AdvantAge Ontario, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario, Children’s Mental Health Ontario, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, Ontario Community Support Association, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, Alliance for Healthier Communities, Mental Health Partners and Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists Ontario Branch.