SEIU Healthcare campaign leads to across-the-board $4/hour raise commitment to homecare PSWs

Homecare personal support workers are celebrating a commitment from the Ontario government to raise current wages for all PSWs working in homecare and the community services sector.

This year, retroactive to April 1, all homecare and community care PSWs will see a $1.50 increase. A $1.50 raise would follow on April 1, 2015, and a further $1.00 on April 1, 2016. Under this plan, those currently making the minimum of $12.50 an hour would make $16.50 an hour by 2016.

The announcement follows an Ontario-wide strike over poor compensation and working conditions, a historic meeting at Queen’s Park, and the launch of SEIU Healthcare’s “Sweet $16” campaign to fix the homecare system by investing directly in Ontario’s homecare PSWs.

Quotes:

“This is an exciting day for all homecare and community care personal support workers in Ontario. We thank the Minister for doing the right thing by committing to a raise of $4.00 across the board by 2016. This is a first step in the journey toward better compensation and respect for PSWs. We said we’d hold the government to its promise and today we celebrate this announcement.” – SEIU Healthcare president Sharleen Stewart

“I am happy that Premier Wynne and Minister Matthews are keeping their promise to raise wages for homecare workers. Many of my peers have worked for such low pay over many years. But the fight doesn’t stop here. We need to make sure this funding actually gets to the frontline.” – Carmen Barnwell, homecare PSW for over 20 years in the Peel-Halton region

“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. Today’s announcement gives me hope that we are finally on the road to getting the compensation homecare PSWs need.” – Rachel Davidson, 28-year-old homecare PSW in the Hamilton region

Facts about homecare:

  • Need for homecare is rising; nearly 1 in 4 Canadians will be a senior by 2036
  • Homecare personal support workers travel to clients’ personal homes and tend to their physiological, hygienic, emotional, and practical needs
  • There are more than 30,000 homecare PSWs in Ontario
  • Homecare PSWs work for either private for-profit or non-profit companies that receive Ontario government funding through the CCACs to provide homecare services
  • PSW wage varies by sector
  • The minimum wage for homecare PSWs was set at $12.50/hour by the Ontario government in 2006
  • The average homecare PSW wage is $14.50/hour whereas the average PSW wage in long-term care (nursing homes) is about $20/hour

Videos:

The truth about homecare | Sweet $16 #swt16 – how to fix the homecare system
Elena Sabellero wonders if she doesn’t have a pension, who will look after her?
Chrystal Becker, a single mom, has worked for six years to try to build herself up to $16/hour

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@SEIUHealthCan

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