MPP says health care and long-term care workers should receive pandemic pay

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ALGOMA-MANITOULIN – Algoma-Manitoulin NDP MPP Michael Mantha says personal support workers (PSWs), in fact all front-line health care workers, should receive pandemic pay from the province. During question period last week, Mr. Mantha called on Premier Doug Ford for health care and long-term care workers to be provided paid sick days every year.

“Yes, there are still many who have not received pandemic pay,” stated MPP Mantha, last Friday. “Many front-line health care and long-term care workers are not and have not received any payment or paid sick days; people like lab technicians, x-ray technicians, paramedics and all other front-line workers should be entitled to the sick pay benefits. And those who work in long-term care—like personal support workers who, for instance, suspect they may have got the COVID-19 virus who choose to self-isolate—should receive these benefits.”

“We want the province to reinstate or put in place that each receive 10 sick days’ leave due to experiencing COVID-19,” continued MPP Mantha.

“Especially in this time when there is heightened need for wearing masks and preparing for the second wave of the pandemic. These workers are trying to make the right decision for themselves, their families and the place they work,” said MPP Mantha. “But those decisions are being hindered by not being included in pandemic pay.” 

MPP Mantha had taken an Algoma-Manitoulin PSW employee’s fight for pandemic pay to Ontario Premier Doug Ford during question period on Wednesday of last week. “One of my constituents, Nancy Riley from Blind River, has written to the premier to get an answer on why she didn’t receive the pandemic pay top-up,” he told the Sault Star July 9.

“Family-funded PSWs have to spend out of pocket to get the PPE (personal protective equipment) they need, on top of having to travel from house to house, risking exposure to themselves and their patients,” MPP Mantha told the Star. “Why has this government excluded family-funded PSWs from pandemic pay?”

MPP Mantha called on the provincial government to provide paid sick days for front-line healthcare and long-term care workers when they need to self-isolate to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.