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Ontario passes bill to permanently increase PSW pay, prohibit resale of government PPE


The Ontario government has passed sweeping pandemic-related legislation providing a framework to make wage increases for personal support workers permanent and impose fines on those caught reselling government-provided personal protective equipment.

In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, the government says the 2022 Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act expands on policies and measures already in place to ensure the province is able to stay open by building a stronger, more resilient health care system that is better able to respond to crisis.”

Within the legislation is a framework that would allow a temporary pandemic wage increase for personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers (DSWs) to become permanent.

Back in October 2020, eligible workers in long-term care and community care received a wage increase of $3 per hour while those in public hospitals received a $2 pay bump.

Premier Doug Ford often promised to make this pay hike permanent, but has only temporarily extended the measures until now.

The bill passed today provides a framework for “a compensation enhancement program” and the government has said it “intends to file a regulation under this legislation shortly to make the temporary wage enhancement for PSWs and DSWs permanent.”

"We are grateful for personal and direct support workers who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our loved ones receive the care and support they need,” Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Dr. Merrilee Fullerton said in a statement.

"We are delivering on our promise to make the wage enhancement permanent, and I am proud of that, under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is taking action to ensure Ontario is prepared for the future.”

The Ford government said in the news release that it will invest about $893 million in 2022-23 to make this wage enhancement program, which will benefit over 158,000 workers, possible.

The base wage rate for a PSW in Ontario before the increase is $16.50 per hour.

The new legislation will also make it easier for foreign-credentialed health workers to begin practicing in Ontario, officials said, and commits to recruiting and retaining more healthcare staff through a $142 million grant.


The bill also prohibits the sale of free government-provided PPE, as well as other critical supplies and equipment. A person found violating this legislation could face a maximum fine of $20,000.

A corporation found guilty of an offence could face a maximum $250,000 fine.

The legislation does specify that no prosecution can take place more than two years after the date in which the offence was committed, meaning that anyone alleged to have resold PPE early on in the pandemic will likely not be subject to a fine.

The government also said the legislation promotes and supports local manufacturing of PPE and to, “wherever possible,” maintain a stockpile of equipment for times of crisis.

President of the Treasury Board, Prabmeet Sarkaria, said in a statement that the legislation provides Ontario with tools to fight future pandemics or other threats.

“Never again will we allow Ontario to be in the precarious position it was in before the pandemic. The Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2022, builds on our government’s strong commitment to the health and safety of all Ontarians and our desire to give Ontarians the confidence and security of knowing that when a future pandemic emerges, Ontario will be ready.” Top Stories

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