April 1st, 2020

Government needs to step up support for health care workers: Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Dire messages have been coming from the front lines of health care where more resources are needed to fight COVID-19 — and the provincial government can and must fix some of the concerns right now, says NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and the Official Opposition.

“Our health care heroes need more help to contain the spread of COVID-19 and care for those already sick,” said Horwath. “The government can take a number of steps now — starting today — to support health care workers.”

  1. Issue an emergency order to ensure workers can have personal protective equipment
    • Legally protect the right for health care workers to determine – based on their professional and clinical judgement – when they require access to personal protective equipment like masks.
  1. Issue an emergency order to require all organizations to donate personal protective equipment they’re not using
  1. Hike Personal Support Worker (PSW) pay to $22
    • Aggressively ramp up recruitment efforts to get more staff into seniors care homes. Many trained PSWs are not working in home care or long-term care because of underpaying and understaffing. More staff gives workers in long-term care and home care time to care for people, and take necessary precautions with virus containment protocols
    • Create a retention fund for PSWs
  1. Give health care workers mental health supports
    • Invest $5 million to provide round-the-clock, emergency mental health supports for health care workers
    • Provide Presumptive WSIB coverage for frontline health care workers whose mental or physical health is affected by COVID-19
  1. Scale up free child care centres for health care workers now
    • Ramp-up opening child care centres
    • Locate child care centres located near hospitals, long-term care homes, COVID-19 assessment centres and other health care facilities
    • Set required standards for cleaning and disinfecting the temporary child care centres
  1. Cancel all parking fees at hospitals and other health care facilities