Last month, we told you about a campaign we had launched called Sweet$16. “We need to increase the minimum wage for PSWs to $16 an hour. We need homecare declared as an essential service. We need to give PSWs a pension,” said Carmen Barnswell, a PSW from Oakville, outlining some of the goals of the campaign.

This month we are proud to say that the campaign was a resounding success. After years of hard work, the Ontario Government on April 29, 2014 announced it was giving a raise to all PSWs in the homecare and community services sector. All homecare and community care PSWs will see a $1.50 hourly increase in their pay on April 1, 2014. Another $1.50 raise would follow on April 1, 2015, and a further $1.00 on April 1, 2016. Under this plan, those who earn only $12.50 an hour will be making $16.50 an hour by 2016.

“It has been really hard to stay working in homecare because I just can’t afford to do it for long under the current system, said Rachel Davidson, a homecare PSW from the Hamilton region. “Today’s announcement gives me hope that we are finally on the road to getting the compensation homecare PSWs need.”

SEIU’s work over the past five years has brought about positive change for PSWs. Success didn’t happen overnight. But viewing the results from the Sweet$16 campaign, sometimes a few small accomplishments can lead to big change.

“I am excited for the future,” stated Millie Hickson. Our profession has changed a lot. When I started this job 28 years ago I made $4.10 per hour and we were considered housekeepers. But that isn’t the case anymore. We do the same work RPNs used to do. But the wages and status have not kept up with our responsibilities.”

In recognition of PSW Day, which is May 19th, SEIU Healthcare is inviting members & their families to a free movie night where we will be screening “Made in the USA”, a film about worker’s rights. For a full list of dates & locations visit seiuhealthcare.ca