Following the Ontario government’s announcement of financial assistance for front-line workers, the union representing the paramedics of Prescott and Russell says it is disappointed that paramedics were not mentioned.

A press release from the executive of CUPE 7911 says it supports the efforts of the government of Ontario. “However, we are disappointed that our members have been excluded from this list. Paramedics are undoubtedly on the front line of health care during this outbreak and our members are exposed daily to patients potentially affected by this virus.”.

The press release notes that the government did something similar when it drafted the original list of Ontario’s essential workers; paramedics were not mentioned.

“We are asking the government to reconsider its decision and to include paramedics and recognize the important work of paramedics not only in eastern Ontario, but across the province.”

The financial assistance announced by the province last week includes adding $4.00 to hourly wages and a $250 bonus for those who work more than 100 hours per month. The premium will apply to workers in long-term care, retirement homes, community care, home care and some hospital workers, including those who provide support services, work with those with development disabilities and includes those who provide support services in hospitals, such as cooks and cleaners.

The pandemic pay top-up, in place as of April 24, will continue for 16 weeks.

Personal support workers may earn the least if employed by an agency but may earn more per hour if they are employed by a publicly-owned facility and more if they are employed in a hospital.

A few recent job postings for Eastern Ontario offer a salary range of $18.85 to $20.84 per hour with facilities in urban centres offering higher hourly wages.

Prescott-Russell paramedics earn between $33.99 to $43.38 per hour, depending on their level and years of service.