You might be surprised who was left off the pandemic pay list
LONDON, ONT. -- The Ontario government is giving a pay raise to many front-line workers who are risking their lives to help patients battling COVID-19, but some life-saving workers were left off the pandemic pay list.
Some life-saving workers, such as respiratory therapists (RT) and paramedics, have apparently been left off the temporary “pandemic payment” list.
Kelly Hassall, an RT and president elect of Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario (RTSO), says RTs are quite upset and discouraged they didn’t make the initial list.
“We’re there when the tube goes in, we’re there when the ventilator is being used, we’re managing the ventilator and then then we are pulling that breathing tube out.”
On Saturday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the eligible employees would receive an additional $4 an hour for the next 16 weeks, as well as a possible $250 lump-sum payment per month if they worked 100 hours or more.
“We’re leaving our families just like everybody else,” says Hassal. “We are going onto the front line, or whatever capacity that it is and we are doing what we do best, which is help people breathe.”
Paramedics, who are first to respond, were not included either.
“It’s about caring for patients which paramedics do each and every day,” says Chief Neal Roberts of Middlesex-London EMS.
‘Whether it be on a 911 call…or our community paramedics who are currently in the community, they are swabbing patients, they are working with Middlesex-London Health Unit.”
Roberts says while paramedics are deserving of pandemic pay, he feels nothing but appreciation from the government and expects they will be added to the list soon.
Appeals have been made to the government by the RTSO asking for more clarity.
“The sooner that we can see the details surrounding the document, the sooner we can get an understanding of what the pandemic pay is all about and how RTs fit into that,” says Hassall.
The Ontario Ministry of Health tells CTV News, “We’re grateful for the tireless work of our front-line health-care workers and will continue to stand behind them as we respond collectively to the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re continuing to consult with our health care partners to address questions and determine who might meet the criteria for pandemic pay.”
Hassall says being added to the list would mean being recognized.
“It would mean that we are being seen, that we are being recognized for our work and that people are aware of not only the risks that we are taking but the great work that we do.”