Front-line caregivers in Manitoba to receive $5 hourly wage topup

Manitoba families minister Heather Stefanson removing her mask before a media briefing on Friday morning. Pool Camera Feed

Front-line caregivers in Manitoba are set to receive a $5-topup for every hour they’ve worked or will work between Nov. 1, 2020, and Jan. 10 of the New Year.

Health-care aides and housekeeping staff, along with direct service and recreation workers who work at personal care homes or in child welfare services will all be able to apply for the program.

The newly announced Caregiver Wage Support Program is also being targetted towards people working in homeless shelters, family violence prevention shelters, and disability services.

Read more: Coronavirus: Winnipeg man weighing his options as care home invites family members to bedsides

“We know that congregate care settings not just in Manitoba but across the country and indeed around the world are experiencing higher spread of the virus, so we want to get out in front of this, which is why we’re announcing this today,” explained Minister of Families Heather Stefanson, during a media briefing Friday morning.

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To be eligible for the wage increase, you must be making less than $25 an hour.

Two intake periods for the program will close on Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 18, 2021.

Read more: Manitoba sees 10 new coronavirus deaths, 383 new cases reported Thursday

The benefit will be paid directly to workers in two separate payments by the provincial government in the weeks after each intake period closes.

Stefanson says as of Thursday, there were 16 caregiving agencies in Manitoba with patients or staff members who’ve contracted COVID-19.

Read more: All residents at northern Manitoba care home test positive for COVID-19

“We want to ensure that we encourage those who aren’t sick to take on some extra hours here and so this is a $5 an hour increase for those who work those wages between these periods of time.”

“It’s a short-term targeted investment,” she said.

Over 20,000 caregiving employees province-wide can apply for the program.

The total cost of the benefit is $35 million, being split between the provincial and federal governments.

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