The Ontario government will temporarily boost the pay for nearly 147,000 personal support workers across the province.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Thursday, while warning "some of the toughest days lie ahead" as the second wave begins to grip the province. 

Effective on Oct. 1, the province is providing a temporary wage increase for personal support workers who deliver publicly funded services.

"As we enter the second wave we need to stabilize our PSW workforce," Ford said Thursday. "We need to make sure that when our loved ones need care there is a PSW there to support them and that means retaining our PSW's and getting more into the system."

The pay raise, which will be reviewed regularly and could be in effect until March 2021, 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 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals
  • $3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.

The Ontario government is spending about $460 million to deliver this pay bump to the workers.

"Personal support workers and direct support workers care for some of our most vulnerable patients and have been critical in the fight against COVID-19," Elliott said. "The pandemic has created additional pressures on these workers and as cases increase and we prepare for the upcoming flu season, this wage enhancement recognizes their important role in providing care for those in need."

Ford said he has not ruled out continuing the pay raise next year.

Advocates in the long-term care and home care sectors have said low pay has contributed to PSW shortages before and during the pandemic.