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Premier Doug Ford warned that "some of the toughest days are ahead," as he authorized a temporary pay increase for personal support workers in Ontario.
Ford announced on Thursday afternoon at a press conference that he has approved a package which will temporarily raise the pay of approximately 147,000 workers who are considered to be essential components of Ontario's struggle against the coronavirus.
According to CTV News, this pay increase of $3 per hour will be in effect until March of next year. This partially replaces a previous pay increase of $4 per hour which was valid from May to August of this year.
Ford said during the briefing, "As we enter the second wave we need to stabilize our PSW workforce. We need to make sure that when our loved ones need care there is a PSW there to support them and that means retaining our PSW’s and getting more into the system."
He went on to say that these workers "are overworked and underpaid," and added that they are deserving of our "appreciation and respect."
"I remember Sally. I still remember her name. Sally was in my mom's home when she was fighting cancer and she was there every single day. And you know what was heartbreaking? Sally would take the bus so we got to figure something out about travel expenses too. She would take the bus from home to home and stayed there with my mom. She would stay there all night with her, help her, clean her," continued Ford, referring to the PSW who had cared for his mother.
"When it comes around to March I am going to do everything I can to make sure [the temporary pay increase] is full time," he said. "They deserve it," opined Ford, referring to his desire to make the pay increase permanent before it expires.
The Ontario government also has plans to invest a further $10.3 million CAD in providing incentives to recent graduates eligible for PSW positions in areas of need, offering them $5,000 bonuses if they are willing to commit to working in long-term care homes for a minimum of six months.