WINDSOR – NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) is calling on the Ford government to fix the broken pandemic pay program that has left out so many frontline health care workers who have played a critical role in battling COVID-19 in the province.
“It’s simply not good enough to tell frontline health care workers who have put their lives on the line to keep us safe that there just isn’t any more money,” said Gretzky. “Doug Ford needs to acknowledge that he made a bad choice, and expand this program to include all those who have been excluded.”
Speaking Friday at Windsor Regional Hospital, Gretzky highlighted the example of Allison Hearn, an ambulation assistant who has been denied pandemic pay, despite working for two months at the field hospital set up to treat COVID-19 patients. “Health care workers like Allison are dedicated professionals who have placed the health of others ahead of their own, and deserve to be recognized. They are putting in long hours, over many months, as part of clinical teams working together seven days a week to treat patients and providing palliative care to those unable to recover,” said Gretzky.
“There are so many people like Allison in Ontario who feel unappreciated. As the pandemic continues, the Ford government should not be picking and choosing who deserves pandemic pay and who doesn’t. It’s a pity Mr. Ford refuses to recognize all frontline heroes equally for their selfless contribution to helping others.”
From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDP Official Opposition has demanded that all frontline health care workers should be eligible for pandemic pay, and that it should be made retroactive to when the virus first hit the province.
“We can’t thank frontline workers enough, and I know that’s what our community here in Windsor believes too. As the pandemic continues and as we prepare for a potential second wave, it’s time for the Ford government to stop making excuses, and start extending pandemic pay to all those on the frontlines who have sacrificed so much for all of us.”
Allison Hearn, ambulation assistant at Windsor’s COVID-19 field hospital
“I worked directly on the front line with COVID-19 patients at the field hospital for months and yet the government decided I am not eligible for the pandemic pay. I put myself at risk every day, I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I went in to work because I knew that my patients needed me. I feel that I’m not appreciated by the government. I’m frustrated and I’m angry.”
April Gouin, president of CUPE Local 1132 at Windsor Regional Hospital
“It’s a shame and an absolute disappointment that the Ford government feels that not all frontline workers should be eligible for pandemic pay. Especially for those that are putting themselves in harm’s way while working directly with positive COVID patients.”