About 80 homecare PSWs from across Ontario came together in Toronto this week to share their work stories, rally around the “Sweet $16” homecare campaign, which seeks a minimum wage increase for all homecare workers, and learn about the power of collective action.
The new “Sweet $16” campaign is asking for four concrete things from the Ontario government:
- Raise the minimum wage for homecare PSWs from $12.50/hour to $16/hour (as a first step toward parity with PSW work in long-term care)
- Offer retirement security through a good pension plan
- Declare homecare an essential service
- Provide access to standardized and ongoing continuing education and specialized training opportunities to meet the evolving needs of homecare clients
Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews spoke to personal support workers yesterday morning, thanking them for the at-home healthcare services they provide to thousands, including Matthews’ own mother.
”The sad reality is that most Ontarians would be appalled at the working conditions of these caregivers,” said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart, who teared up at the conference while remembering PSWs who were unable to afford proper winter clothes while out on the picket line last December.
In January, six SEIU Healthcare homecare PSWs, who work long hours at low wages to care for people in their own homes, met with Premier Wynne and Minister Matthews (video).
Soon after, the Ontario government publicly committed to providing better support to homecare personal support workers in an update on its healthcare action plan.