It’s official: first ask of “Sweet $16” campaign achieved

The long-awaited 2014-2015 Ontario budget was passed today, containing within it a promise kept to raise home and community care wages by $4 across the board. The base wage for personal support workers will be $16.50 by 2017.

This achievement is the result of hard work to push the government on wages, including during an Ontario-wide strike by 4,500 PSWs this past winter.

SEIU Healthcare’s “Sweet $16” campaign calls for several changes centred on job security for homecare PSWs to encourage them to stay in the growing sector and minimize turnover for the clients who depend on them.

Quotes:

“This is a time to celebrate a great victory. In addition to all the essential work they do daily, personal support workers throughout Ontario went on strike last year and got politically active during the provincial election. This raise is well-deserved. The work doesn’t stop here: we are seeking wage parity between homecare and long-term care personal support work, among other concrete things to fix some major problems in homecare.”

“There is high turnover in the homecare sector. That is because PSWs don’t have job security. Rising costs of living such as gas prices have meant that wages haven’t been keeping up for years. We will keep pushing for improvements to make sure PSWs can actually afford to stay working in homecare.”

- Sharleen Stewart, president, SEIU Healthcare

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:

Below the Line | Walking in a PSW's shoes
Today Me, Tomorrow You | Walking in a PSW's shoes
The truth about homecare | Sweet $16 #swt16 – how to fix the homecare system

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@SEIUHealthCan

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