As a result of COVID, the temporary wage supplement was introduced by the federal government and primarily funded by them, but it’s up to the provinces to implement this payment for essential workers – and it’s for a limited four month period.
In most provinces it is automatically given to all health care workers because they are considered essential. But not here in Saskatchewan! In Saskatchewan if you are a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) and you provide personal care to a resident in a long term care home, you are eligible to apply for this supplement.
However, if you are a CCA and provide bedside care to patients in a hospital you are not eligible. If you are a Licensed Practical Nurse that provides nursing care such as medication administration in a long term care home or an integrated facility, you are eligible to apply. However, if you are a LPN in home care and you are doing the same work, you are not eligible.
It doesn’t stop there. At Saskatoon City Hospital, there is a whole unit (8700) where the patients cannot live independently so they are receiving care until a spot can be found in a long term care facility. If you are working in this facility, you are not eligible.
Some might say this doesn’t make sense and I am one of them!
What makes matters worse is the cohorting. An employee with two part-time jobs; one in hospital and one in long term care may be directed by the SHA to work exclusively in the hospital, thereby depriving them of their eligibility. And if you are one of these workers and you write to the Minister of Health asking why you aren’t eligible — guess what? You will receive a form letter from the Minister of Finance.
This is what our Sask Party government calls ‘fairness’ — is this how you would treat health care workers in the midst of a pandemic?
Treasurer of SEIU-West
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.