Ontario personal support workers get pay raise in bid to boost pandemic recruitment efforts

TORONTO — Ontario says it will give pay raises to personal support workers throughout the health-care system in a bid to recruit and retain them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford says about 147,000 workers in long-term care, hospitals, and community care are eligible for the increase.

Personal support workers in long-term care and community care will be eligible for a $3 an hour pay increase, while hospital PSWs will see a $2 an hour pay hike.

The temporary increase will cost the government $461 million, begins today and will expire in March 2021.

Read more: Ontario reports 538 new coronavirus cases, 3 additional deaths

Ford says he has not ruled out continuing the pay raise next year.

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Advocates in the long-term care and home care sectors have said low pay has contributed to PSW shortages before and during the pandemic.

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Ontario is reporting 538 new cases of COVID-19 today and three new deaths from the illness.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 229 cases are being reported in Toronto, 101 cases in Peel Region, 66 in Ottawa, and 43 in York Region. She says 60 per cent of the new cases are among people under the age of 40.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ford hopes to do ‘everything I can’ to make PSW raise permanent after March 2021' Coronavirus: Ford hopes to do ‘everything I can’ to make PSW raise permanent after March 2021

Coronavirus: Ford hopes to do ‘everything I can’ to make PSW raise permanent after March 2021

In total, 162 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 36 in intensive care.

The province is also reporting 65 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 29 among students. Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 307 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly-funded schools.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press

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