December 9, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB – NDP MLAs Nahanni Fontaine, Uzoma Asagwara and Adrien Sala held a press conference today with CUPE Local 204 President Debbie Boissonneault and a health worker to amplify the voices of Healthcare Aides, Homecare Workers, Allied Health Professionals and other Healthcare Support Staff who do not qualify for the province’s Caregiver Wage Support Program.
“These frontline healthcare workers work in hospital and put their lives on the line every day to keep our loved ones safe and healthy,” said NDP House Leader Nahanni Fontaine. “We’ve heard from workers who have direct contact with at-risk groups yet don’t qualify. Some of them have even contracted COVID on the job but the Pallister government has let them fall through the cracks. This is unacceptable. The province needs to expand this program to recognize the extraordinary work of all frontline healthcare workers and ensure no one is left behind.”
Workers left out of the province’s Caregiver Wage Support Program include: healthcare aides, housekeeping staff, unit clerks and dietary staff in hospitals and healthcare facilities; allied health professionals and other specialists who work with clients in long term care homes; healthcare workers in community clinics; and homecare workers.
“Our members put their health at risk to do their jobs every day, often for very little pay,” said Boissonneault, “Yet many of them don’t qualify for this program. Many of the workers left out of this program are at high risk of COVID exposure. We believe all caregivers, no matter where they work, deserve recognition. We’re calling on the government to immediately expand the program so that no one is left behind.”
Emma, a dietary aide at a personal care home, said two aides at her facility have already tested positive for COVID-19.
“As a dietary aide I’m in close proximity with residents everyday” she said. “Workers like me are caregivers. We feed them, talk to them and protect their dignity. And we deserve recognition— we shouldn’t be excluded.”