The Ontario government is investing an additional $169 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers for the third time since its initial investment last year. This increase will continue until October 31, 2021 and will help stabilize staffing levels and support our frontline health care workers to ensure the province is prepared to respond to any scenario as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.
The government is extending the wage enhancement for over 158,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services or direct support services in hospitals, long-term care, home and community care and social services until October 31, 2021. This includes:
$3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;
$3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;
$2 per hour for approximately 10,000 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
$3 per hour for approximately 60,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.
This latest temporary wage increase builds on the government’s previous wage enhancement extension on June 11, 2021, which was set to expire on August 23, 2021. Since October 2020, Ontario has invested $841 million and, with this additional $169 million, will have invested over $1 billion for personal support workers and direct support workers. The province will continue to review the wage increase to inform its next steps to ensure this important investment will bring the greatest stability and support for Ontario’s personal support workers and direct support workers.
This week the Ontario Government hit a large milestone having over 75 per cent of eligible Ontarians fully vaccinated, Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones are applauding the work and contributions of the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force as its mandate comes to a close on August 31. Working with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local public health units, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Solicitor General will continue to administer the province’s vaccine program, including ongoing implementation of Ontario’s last mile strategy. The province will monitor COVID-19 epidemiology and vaccination rates to adapt and evolve as needed.
The task force was created in November 2020 to advise on the development of Ontario’s immunization program, including the ethical, timely and effective distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Solicitor General. With the members’ expertise in operations and logistics, federal-provincial relations, health and clinical domains, public health and immunization, ethics, and information technology and data, the task force helped ensure Ontarians could be immunized as quickly and safely as possible once vaccine supply became available. The final meeting of the task force will take place on August 30..
To date, the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force’s achievements include:
Developing guiding principles and prioritization to distribute initial doses to the most vulnerable as well as an ethical framework for subsequent vaccine distribution;
Facilitating the administration of a first dose to over 80 per cent of eligible Ontarians aged 12+ and full vaccination of over 75 per cent of eligible Ontarians;
Successfully operationalizing first and second doses across northern remote Indigenous communities, long-term care homes and senior homes;
Working with Public Health Units to identify communities of greatest need and making it easier and more convenient for individuals to get vaccinated through multiple targeted strategies, including community-based and employer-led clinics, mobile clinics such as the GO-VAXX buses and deploying health and human resources to support these delivery channels;
Providing the technical and logistical expertise to ensure vaccines were stored and transported securely to communities across the province and that vaccine distribution processes were seamless and effective.
To support the province’s last mile strategy, the province and public health units are focusing on smaller, community-based and easy-to-access settings for vaccinations. This includes mobile clinics and community-based pop-ups, dedicated clinic days for families with people with disabilities, and townhall meetings in multiple languages. In addition, the province is working with public health units to target areas with low vaccination rates, as identified by postal codes, to support localized vaccination strategies as well as targeted marketing by the province in these areas.
To ensure all eligible Ontarians benefit from the strong protection offered by both doses of the vaccine as soon as possible, the provincial call centre is calling Ontarians to remind them to rebook their accelerated second dose appointments. Over 110,000 second dose appointments have been successfully booked or rebooked through this initiative.
A key component of Ontario’s last mile strategy is bringing the vaccines directly to people, where they are located. To date, Ontario’s GO-VAXX bus clinic has administered 1,100 vaccine doses, 42 per cent of which were first doses.
Public health units are also partnering with elementary and secondary school boards, colleges and universities to make vaccines readily available for all students returning to school. This includes youth who were born in 2009 and will turn 12 this year.
The success of Ontario’s vaccine rollout, which has resulted in one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, is having an impact and continues to protect Ontarians against the virus. Between December 14, 2020 and August 7, 2021, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated cases accounted for the majority (99.4 per cent) of COVID-19 cases reported. Similarly, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated cases accounted for 99.2 per cent of hospitalizations, and 98.8 per cent of deaths during the same time period.
I will be hosting my annual summer barbecue next Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 with public health and safety measures in place. I would like to invite my constituents to come out and chat with me while enjoying some great BBQ. Vegetarian and Kosher options are also available. There will be games for kids!
My constituency office is open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 4PM. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop by. We encourage you to continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected]. We remain ready to assist.