November 15th, 2021
November 15th, 2021
QUEEN’S PARK — Sudbury NDP MPP Jamie West re-introduced his private member’s bill which would raise the wage floor for all personal support workers (PSWs) in Ontario.
“Personal support workers have taken care of the people who raised us, the people we love,” said West. “They should be able to support their own families and not have to worry about putting food on the table. With this bill, the Ford government can raise the wage floor permanently for all PSWs, regardless of their sector, and make sure they aren’t paying out of their own pockets to travel from client to client.”
West’s bill, An Act Respecting Minimum Pay for Support Workers, urgently and permanently adds the temporary PSW pandemic pay to the minimum pay of support workers and requires that they are paid per kilometre travelled between work sites.
“This government needs to set things right with our health care workers who have worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much to keep people safe,” said West. “Personal Support Workers need a long-term commitment that outlasts the Ford government’s temporary wage enhancement that ends in just a few months.”
The bill also calls on the Minister of Long-Term Care to develop programs to provide training, education and professional development for all support workers and long-term care staff that provide care. The bill requires the ministry recruit and retain the number of support workers required to deliver adequate and appropriate care and ensures that support workers are paid while learning on the job. The Act also establishes the Support Worker Wage Review Commission so that PSW wages are regularly reviewed and do not fall backwards in the future.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath committed in her long-term care and home care platform to raise PSW wages by $5 per hour if elected in 2022, and to turn notoriously part-time and temporary PSW gigs into full-time careers.
Ontario Community Support Association
“PSWs in home and community care are the lowest paid in the entire health system. PSWs in the home and community care sector are making on average 19% less than PSWs in the hospital sector and 9% less than PSWs in the long-term care sector. OCSA supports the permanent solution for PSW wages and a healthy human resources plan in the community. Personal support workers should be paid equitable rates regardless of whether they work in home care, long-term care or in hospital.”
Lynn Steele, Founder & CEO of The Canadian PSW Network
“Many PSWs, specifically in home care, are often forced to work 12-14 hour days in order to be paid for 8 hours of work, and receive little compensation for the vehicle gas and maintenance costs that come out of their own pockets. This alone is a massive deterrent to attracting and retaining PSWs. Thousands of PSWs don’t qualify for the wage enhancement given during this pandemic, and never have because of the sector they work in. We think that starting with a minimum wage floor for PSWs across all sectors is a step in the right direction to showing them how crucial they are to caring for our society’s most vulnerable population.”