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Letter to Premier Ford: Expand pandemic pay

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Dear Premier Ford,

Since first announcing pandemic pay for frontline healthcare professionals in late April, you have more than once stated your willingness to look into increasing the professions that will receive this compensation.

While we appreciate the moves you have made since April to include more of our public sector heroes, there are still many working incredibly long and stressful hours who are not receiving the recognition they deserve. This is not fair: we know it, and we know that you know it!

You’ve said recently that expanding pandemic pay will come at a cost and that the cupboard is bare. We can do better. Especially at a time when frontline healthcare workers are relied upon more than ever. It’s time to ease the strain on healthcare workers and a system that is being overrun with COVID-19 cases, increasingly due to the crisis in long term care, from within the migrant farm community, in meat packing workplaces and in anticipation of pressures associated with expanding our economy.

In a media release sent earlier today, I called on the Prime Minister to use federal government resources to provide more federal funding because every frontline healthcare worker must be included. They are all essential components to the system. They are putting their lives on the line and coming in direct and prolonged contact with presumptive and positive patients.

The inequities in the current pay grid are disheartening for professionals closely integrated in our health care system. It undermines the morale of frontline staff in hospitals. We need to fix this. I am asking you to work with us to secure the necessary funds.

Premier, these are challenging times. But by pulling together Ontario will get through this. Our healthcare heroes are doing their part. Let’s do ours.

Sincerely,

OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas