Ontario temporarily raising wages for support workers by up to $3 per hour

PSW caring for elderly woman PSWs will get a temporarily wage increase in Ontario

The Ontario government will boost wages of personal support workers by $2 to $3 per hour to help retain and attract workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province is investing a total of $461 million to help retain and attract workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the second wave of COVID-19 under way Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province needs to “stabilize” the personal support workforce. “That means retaining our PSWs and getting more into the system. It means creating an incentive for more people to sign up for PSWs in a time when we need them most” said Ford at Queen’s Park today.

PSWs or personal support workers provide personal care and related services to people who need help with everyday tasks due to age, poor health, or because of developmental issues. They are usually involved in both personal care tasks and incidental activities of daily living such as housekeeping, meal preparation, socialization, and companionship.

They earn $17 as a starting wage to around $21 per hour.

“We know the wages of PSWs do not reflect the critical role they have played throughout this pandemic, in addition to their ongoing care of our loved ones…Today’s temporary investment will bridge that gap and ensure this vital profession received the appreciation and respect it deserves,” said Ford.

Premier Doug Ford during today's press conference at Queen's Park
Premier Doug Ford announces wage increase for support workers during today’s press conference at Queen’s Park.

The province will increase wages to over 147,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services starting today. This will be reviewed regularly and can extend through to March 31, 2021.

The wage increases include:

  • $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.

“Personal support workers or PSWs and direct support workers care for some of our most vulnerable patients and have been critical in the fight against COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “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.” 

This investment builds on Ontario’s fall preparedness plan Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, which included a $26.3 million investment to support PSWs and supportive care by stabilizing the healthcare workforce. This includes investments in training programs, the hiring of more workers, and the acceleration of certain healthcare programs.

“Our PSWs deserve our appreciation and respect. They’re doing a heck of a job and I want to give a special shout out to all the PSWs today. Thank you for everything you do and I absolutely love you guys, I really do, you’re amazing people. You’re absolute champions. If you see a PSW this week, please be sure to thank them,” said Ford.

Learn More:

Original news release
Press conference video
Flu immunization campaign
Ontario offering COVID testing at pharmacies starting Friday
Ontario investing in healthcare
Niagara Public Health contact tracing info
Niagara Public Health COVID-19 page