Ontario homecare announcement gives hope to PSWs

(January 27, 2014 - Richmond Hill, ON)

Last week, six SEIU Healthcare personal support workers (PSWs), who work long hours at low wages to care for people in their own homes, met with Premier Wynne and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews (video) to discuss severe problems with the homecare system.

And today, the Ontario Government publicly committed to providing better support to personal support workers (PSWs) in an update on its healthcare action plan. Minister Matthews emphasized the growing importance of homecare in Ontario and lamented the low wages of PSWs.

“On behalf of thousands of dedicated personal support workers who are in this job despite the poverty-level wages because they love helping people, I thank Premier Wynne and Minister Matthews for making a public promise to help frontline workers. Homecare is in crisis and we need to do something about it,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, the homecare union representing the 4,500 Red Cross workers who went on strike last month.

SEIU Healthcare is advocating for the following changes to appear in the upcoming provincial budget:

  • Increasing minimum wage for homecare to $16/hour as a step toward wage parity with personal support work in long-term care

  • Investing strongly in frontline workers by improving access to benefits and pensions

  • Making homecare an essential service

  • Access to continuing education opportunities to meet the evolving needs of homecare clients

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