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Ontario to Temporarily Provide Certain Essential Workers with Pandemic Premium Pay

The Ontario government is providing certain frontline workers with a temporary pandemic premium (the “Premium”) that will increase existing hourly wages by $4 per hour.

The Premium will be on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified worker’s hourly wage. The Premium will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020, until August 13, 2020. Also, workers working over 100 hours per month would receive a lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months.

Monthly Lump Sum Periods

Eligible workers who work at least 100 hours in a designated 4-week period will be eligible for the $250 lump sum. Eligible staff will be paid retroactively for hours worked during this period. The following are the designated 4-week periods:

  • April 24, 2020 to May 21, 2020
  • May 22, 2020 to June 18, 2020
  • June 19, 2020 to July 16, 2020
  • July 17, 2020 to August 13, 2020
How Pay will be Distributed

According to the latest information provided by the Government of Ontario, eligible frontline workers will receive the temporary hourly pandemic pay directly from their employers. The government is still determining how the lump sum payments will be made.  Also, the Government of Ontario has not yet provided guidance on how Employers would be funded for the premium.

According, to the Government of Ontario, the temporary hourly pandemic pay and lump sum payments:

  • are non-pensionable earnings
  • are not part of an employee’s base salary
  • have no impact on benefits paid by employers
  • only apply to the hours actually worked and do not apply to time not in the workplace including:
    • vacation
    • any authorized paid leave, including sick leave
    • time  and benefits awarded under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

The temporary pandemic pay and lump sum payments do not impact eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Eligibility

According to the Government of Ontario, employers are not being asked to apply for pandemic pay; eligible employers will be contact by May 15, 2020. The Premium does not apply to management employees. Eligibility is not dependent upon whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the location employees’ work in. To receive the pandemic pay, employees must work in both an eligible role and workplace as listed below.

According to the Government of Ontario’s latest release, the following workplaces and workers are eligible to receive the premium:

Health Care

To be eligible for pandemic pay, individuals must be an eligible worker who works in an eligible workplace providing publicly-funded services.

Eligible workplaces

  • All hospitals in the province, including small rural hospitals, post-acute hospitals, children’s hospitals and psychiatric hospitals
  • Home and community care

Eligible workers

  • Personal support workers
  • Registered nurses
  • Registered practical nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Attendant care workers
  • Auxiliary staff, including:
    • porters
    • cooks
    • custodians
    • housekeeping
    • laundry
  • Developmental services workers
  • Mental health and addictions workers
  • Respiratory therapists in hospitals and in the home and community care sector
  • Paramedics
  • Public health nurses
Long-Term Care

Eligible workplaces

  • Long-term care homes (including private, municipal and not-for-profit homes)

Eligible workers

  • All non-management publicly funded employees and workers in eligible workplaces (full-time, part-time and casual)
Retirement Homes

Eligible workplaces

  • Licensed retirement homes

Eligible workers

  • All non-management employees working on site in licensed retirement homes (full-time, part-time and casual)
Social Services

Eligible workplaces

  • Homes supporting people with developmental disabilities
  • Intervenor residential sites
  • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities/shelters
  • Shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking
  • Youth justice residential facilities
  • Licensed children’s residential sites
  • Directly operated residential facility ― Child and Parent Resource Institute
  • Emergency shelters
  • Supportive housing facilities
  • Respite/drop-in centres
  • Temporary shelter facilities, such as re-purposed community centres or arenas
  • Hotels/motels used for self-isolation and/or shelter overflow

Eligible workers

  • Direct support workers (e.g. developmental service workers, staff in licensed children’s residential sites, in-take/outreach workers)
  • Clinical staff
  • Housekeeping staff
  • Security staff
  • Administration personnel
  • Maintenance staff
  • Food service workers
  • Nursing staff
Corrections

Eligible workplaces

  • Adult correctional facilities and youth justice facilities in Ontario

Eligible workers

  • Correctional officers
  • Youth services officers
  • Nurses
  • Healthcare staff
  • Social workers
  • Food service
  • Maintenance staff
  • Programming personnel
  • Administration personnel
  • Institutional liaison officers
  • TRILCOR personnel
  • Native Institutional Liaison Officers
  • Chaplains

If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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COVID-19

Ontario to Temporarily Provide Certain Essential Workers with Pandemic Premium Pay

The Ontario government is providing certain frontline workers with a temporary pandemic premium (the “Premium”) that will increase existing hourly wages by $4 per hour.

The Premium will be on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified worker’s hourly wage. The Premium will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020, until August 13, 2020. Also, workers working over 100 hours per month would receive a lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months.

Eligibility

The Premium does not apply to management employees. The following industries’ workplaces and workers are eligible:

Health care and long-term care

Eligible workplaces

  • Acute hospitals
  • Long-term care homes (including private, municipal and not-for-profit homes)
  • Licensed retirement homes
  • Home and community care

Eligible workers

  • Personal support workers
  • Registered nurses
  • Registered practical nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Attendant care workers
  • Auxiliary staff, including:
    • Porters, cook, custodian, housekeeping, laundry facilities and other key workers.
    • Developmental services workers
    • Mental health and addictions workers

Social Services

Eligible workplaces

  • Homes supporting people with developmental disabilities
  • Intervenor residential sites
  • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities/shelters
  • Shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking
  • Youth justice residential facilities
  • Licensed children’s residential sites
  • Directly operated residential facility ― Child and Parent Resource Institute
  • Emergency shelters
  • Supportive housing facilities
  • Respite/drop-in centres
  • Temporary shelter facilities, such as re-purposed community centres or arenas
  • Hotels/motels used for self-isolation and/or shelter overflow

Eligible workers

  • Direct support workers (e.g. developmental service workers, staff in licensed children’s residential sites, in-take/outreach workers)
  • Clinical staff
  • Housekeeping staff
  • Security staff
  • Administration personnel
  • Maintenance staff
  • Food service workers
  • Nursing staff

Corrections

Eligible workplaces

  • Adult correctional facilities and youth justice facilities in Ontario

Eligible workers

  • Correctional officers
  • Youth services officers
  • Nurses
  • Healthcare staff
  • Social workers
  • Food service
  • Maintenance staff
  • Programming personnel
  • Administration personnel
  • Institutional liaison officers
  • TRILCOR personnel
  • Native inmate liaison officers
  • Chaplains

At this time the Ontario Government has not released additional details with respect to how the Premium will be administered. 

If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s other COVID-19 website resources.

Print article

More insights

COVID-19 Employer Update Webinars

Our complimentary webinars address the practical and legal issues for Canadian employers arising from the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

View our Webinars