Wage hike for essential workers on duty during Covid-19 crisis in Canada
Canada’s government has reached an agreement with leaderships in its provinces and territories to increase the wages being paid to essential workers who have remained on-duty while the Covid-19 pandemic raged in the country. The country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Federal Government will contribute up to CA $ 3 billion for the hike with more expected from the provinces and territories.
During his daily media briefing, Trudeau said that “if you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re still making minimum wage, you deserve a raise.”
While many sectors of economic activity have closed in the country during the coronavirus crisis, others have been critical in ensuring essential services were still being provided. Principal among these are the front line healthcare workers.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said, “Canada’s front line workers are dealing directly with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic by taking care of Canadians in our hospitals and nursing homes. They deserve our support. This measure will help workers critical to the current Covid-19 response get the compensation they need.”
Workers in many other spheres may also benefit, though the sectors will be identified by local governments. Among these are those working at grocery stores, delivery persons, truckers, and some construction workers.
In a release, the PMO said such workers deserved a “much-needed wage boost” because while most Canadians were asked to stay at home during the crisis, “millions of Canadians are being called on to go to work every day.”
While the scheme was originally expected to be targeted at those making less than CA$ 2500 per month, that figure has been relaxed and provinces and territories will decide on who will qualify for it.
Trudeau said these governments had either confirmed, or were in the process of confirming these wage top-up plans for essential workers. He said, “Workers are risking their health to provide us with essential care and services, and we need to make sure that they are paid properly for the work they do every day.”