COVID-19 Updates

Joint Open Letter on the Implementation of Pandemic Pay

Premier Doug Ford

Queen’s Park

Toronto, ON

M7A 1A1


Dear Premier Ford,

As a broad group of healthcare stakeholders whose members employ tens of thousands of front line workers in the fight against COVID 19, we write to you today to seek immediate clarity on the implementation details and timing of the release of pandemic pay to support frontline workers employed by organizations funded by the Ministry of Health and the LHINs.

On April 25th, we each applauded the Government of Ontario’s announcement that frontline workers would be recognized with temporary pandemic pay for the current challenges they face keeping Ontarians healthy, safe and informed during the pandemic.

A month later, it is still not clear whether the efforts of all of our healthcare workers will be recognized or if pandemic pay is restricted to a subset of employees. Also, funding has yet to flow to the front line and in fact for those front-line workers whose organizations are funded by the Ministry of Health and/or LHINs have yet to receive clarity on whether or not they will be considered front line workers eligible for pandemic pay. This is contributing to extreme morale issues at the front line at a time when staff need to be supported most. It is also creating unnecessary conflict for employers who are left trying to explain to their employees why they cannot provide neither clarity nor the pay itself.

Together, we are urging the Provincial Government to immediately communicate the implementation details, including confirmation that the funding is for all workers on the frontline, and release funding so that frontline workers can start to see the benefit now while the economy is opening up and they are still hard at work to contain the pandemic.

Additionally, to recognize the critical services provided and the team effort required in fighting COVID-19, we continue to urge that pandemic pay be applied to all non-management front line providers, including regulated frontline staff.

Every day, it becomes increasingly difficult to see this great initiative, that has such great promise for health care worker recognition, be undermined by delay.

We thank you for your attentiveness to our request and look forward to your reply.

Yours truly,

(Original Signed By)

Justin J. Bates, CEO, Ontario Pharmacists Association
Anthony Dale, CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
Lisa Levin, CEO, AdvantAge Ontario
Kavita Mehta, CEO, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario
Kimberly Moran, CEO, Children’s Mental Health Ontario
Camille Quenneville, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Deborah Simon, CEO, Ontario Community Support Association
Adrienne Spafford, CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
Adrianna Tetley, CEO, Alliance for Healthier Communities
Alisha Tharani, Executive Director, Mental Health Partners
Samantha Yau, President, Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists Ontario Branch

Hon. Peter Bethlanfalvy, President of the Treasury Board
Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
James Wallace, Chief of Staff to the Premier
Mark Lawson, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Premier
Karl Baldauf, Chief of Staff to the President of the Treasury Board
Leif Malling, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health


Pandemic Pay Provides Support for Frontline Workers Fighting COVID-19

April 25, 2020 1:00 P.M.

Office of the Premier

To provide additional support for frontline workers fighting COVID-19, the government is providing a temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages. In addition, the government will be providing monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020, and is expected to support over 350,000 frontline workers.

Eligible workplaces and workers for pandemic pay

The pandemic pay is designed to support employees on the frontlines of COVID-19 and does not apply to management. Eligible workplaces and workers include:

Health care and long-term care

Eligible workplaces

  • All hospitals in the province, including small rural hospitals, post-acute hospitals, and others
  • Long-term care homes (including private, municipal and not-for-profit homes)
  • Licenced retirement homes
  • Home and community care

Eligible workers

  • Personal support workers
  • Registered nurses
  • Registered practical nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Attendant care workers
  • Auxiliary staff, including:
    •  Porters, cooks, custodians, housekeeping, laundry facilities and other key workers.
  • Developmental services workers
  • Mental health and addictions workers
  • Respiratory therapists in hospitals and in the home and community care sector
  • Paramedics
  • Public health nurses

Social services

Eligible workplaces

  • Homes supporting people with developmental disabilities
  • Intervenor residential sites
  • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities/shelters
  • Shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking
  • Youth justice residential facilities
  • Licenced children’s residential sites
  • Directly operated residential facility ― Child and Parent Resource Institute
  • Emergency shelters
  • Supportive housing facilities
  • Respite/drop-in centres
  • Temporary shelter facilities, such as re-purposed community centres or arenas
  • Hotels/motels used for self-isolation and/or shelter overflow

Eligible workers:

  • Direct support workers (e.g. developmental service workers, staff in licenced children’s residential sites, in-take/outreach workers)
  • Clinical staff
  • Housekeeping staff
  • Security staff
  • Administration personnel
  • Maintenance staff
  • Food service workers
  • Nursing staff


Eligible workplaces:

  • Adult correctional facilities and youth justice facilities in Ontario

Eligible workers:

  • Correctional officers
  • Youth services officers
  • Nurses
  • Healthcare staff
  • Social workers
  • Food service
  • Maintenance staff
  • Programming personnel
  • Administration personnel
  • Institutional liaison officers
  • TRILCOR personnel
  • Native inmate liaison officers
  • Chaplains

The work of CUPE members across the province has been profoundly disrupted by COVID-19. Many are on the front lines delivering the services people need now more than ever.

We are asking members to share their experiences by sending us cell phone videos where they describe how the pandemic has impacted their work. 

Whether you’ve been laid off, are still working, are working from home, or finding ways to support your community, we want to hear from you.

Email your video to Make sure to include your full name, local number, and profession. Please try to keep it between 30 seconds and 1 minute. 

Check out CUPE Local 2977 member Brittany Nisbett’s story below for inspiration.

In solidarity,

CUPE Ontario

CUPE Local 2977 Member Brittany Nisbett’s Story