Ontario government tables legislation to make PSW wage increase permanent

The hourly wage increase that personal support workers (PSWs) in Ontario have received over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic could soon become permanent, according to a new piece of legislation tabled by the Progressive Conservative government on Tuesday.

If passed, the Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2022 would see workers in long-term care and community care continue to receive a raise of $3 per hour while workers in public hospitals will keep their $2 per hour bump.

The government said that since Oct. 1, 2020, more than 158,000 PSWs and DSWs (direct support workers) have received the increase on a regular basis.

The base wage rate for a PSW in Ontario before the increase is $16.50 per hour.

Tuesday’s announcement comes two days before the benefit was set to expire. The government had been extending the measure for months at a time throughout the pandemic.

Also included in the legislation is a commitment to recruiting and retaining more doctors, nurses and PSWs by way of a $142 million investment through the “Learn and Stay” grant. The government has also pledged to expand the domestic production of personal protective equipment and health-care infrastructure, if the bill is passed.

This is a developing story. More to come.

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