Excluded healthcare workers rally for pandemic pay

BRANTFORD – Brant Community Healthcare Systems Allied Healthcare Workers are calling on the Ontario government to recognize them as part of the healthcare team fighting COVID-19.

Dozens of workers took to the street outside Brantford General Hospital over their lunch break Friday to protest their exclusion from the province’s pandemic pay program that provides an additional four dollars an hour to eligible workers.

Medical Radiation Technologist, Becky Lynch says it’s insulting that they risk their lives every day, yet do not qualify for the program. Lynch says, she works alongside staff who are on the program’s list who may never actually touch a COVID patient.

“We are here on our unpaid lunch break to support each other and to hope we get our professions recognized,” Lynch says. “All the Allied Health professionals at hospitals have been excluded from the pandemic pay. That’s x-ray techs, ultrasound techs, nuclear medicine, MRI, CT, radiation therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, lab, dieticians. The majority of us are 100% hands-on and face to face contact with potential and positive COVID patients every day.”

President and CEO of the Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences, Greg Toffner, joined the workers outside of Brantford General Hospital during the rally and says he stand by all the professionals that have not been recognized for pandemic pay.

“It’s appalling that the government is not recognizing all these frontline workers who are aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease and are exposing themselves every day. Every province in Canada recognizes them except Ontario.”

Greg Toffner,
President and CEO, Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences

Premier Doug Ford announced the pandemic pay late April, as a top-up to regular wages, for those eligible working directly with infected patients, and is available from April 24th to August 13th.