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Newly-trained Quebec orderlies complain salary falling short of what was promised

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebec’s newly-trained orderlies worry they won’t be paid promised salary' Coronavirus: Quebec’s newly-trained orderlies worry they won’t be paid promised salary
WATCH: The Quebec government promised new orderlies would be paid $49,000 a year upon completing a three-month training course but now some newly-trained workers say that's not the case. Documents obtained by Global News show that salaries vary from $44,000 to $49,000 depending on what shift is worked. Global’s Tim Sargeant reports. – Sep 9, 2020

Two Quebec orderlies who have just recently started working in government-owned and operated long-term care facilities, known as CHSLDs, complain the provincial government misled them when it comes to their salaries.

In June, the Legault government launched an intensive 12-week training program for orderlies in a bid to recruit 10,000 people to work in labour-strapped long-term care homes to stave off a second wave of novel coronavirus.

Those enrolled in the program were paid $760 a week and promised a starting annual salary of $49,000.

Read more: Quebec long-term care orderly students confident they can make a difference

Both orderlies, however, told Global News the $49,000 annual salary promised by the government is misleading and not entirely accurate.

“I’m feeling cheated and I’m feeling lied to and conned into this,” one orderly told Global News. He spoke to us on condition of anonymity out of fear of repercussions from work.

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Another nurse’s aide, Ernie Flowers, said he loves helping the seniors but also says the government was not honest when it comes to the pay.

“The government duped us into wanting to help. And people with big hearts like myself jumped on the opportunity, left their employment and now we’re just waiting it out because we’re on contract for a year,” Flowers said in a phone interview.

The offer was reiterated in a tweet issued by Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais last June.

A document obtained by Global News, however, shows that only overnight workers will earn more than $49,000 for the year. Salaries offered for other shifts fall below that threshold.

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“If you do the entire year night shifts but you’d be dead at the end,” one worker said rhetorically.

Read more: Coronavirus: Intensive 12 week training program launched in Quebec for future orderlies

But the government still stands by the salary.

In an email to Global News, Elizabeth Lemay, the press attachée to Seniors Minister Blais wrote, “the government has been clear on its intentions to offer full-time jobs with pay of $49,000 per year, or $26 an hour. This is what we are going to do.”

Click to play video 'Quebec orderlies gear up for second wave of COVID-19' Quebec orderlies gear up for second wave of COVID-19
Quebec orderlies gear up for second wave of COVID-19 – Aug 28, 2020

 

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