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Paramedics say their wages should be topped up because they, too, are frontline workers

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.

Louise Sproule

Louise Sproule has been the publisher of The Review since 1992. A part-time job after high school at The Review got Sproule hooked on community newspapers and all that they represent. She loves to write, has covered every kind of event you can think of, loves to organize community events and loves her small town and taking photographs across the region. She dreams of writing a book one day so she can finally tell all of the town's secrets! She must be stopped! Keep subscribing to The Review . . . or else!

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