St Catharines MP rails against Ontario’s one per cent wage freeze for healthcare workers


Published August 5, 2021 at 7:31 pm


After joining a CUPE Local 1263 workers rally late last month, St Catharine MPP Jennie Stevens has not softened her stand that Ontario is gutting its nurses and healthcare providers.

(CUPE Local 1263 is the Niagara Region labour union consisting of nurses, long-term care workers, retirement homes workers and community support workers from the Niagara Region.)

When the Ontario government announced late last month that they would not change the one per cent salary cap on healthcare workers, many were furious, suggesting they might be better off fleeing the province for greener pastures.

Actually, the government passed its Bill 124 calling for the healthcare wage freeze back in November 2019. That was, of course, pre-COVID-19.

Having dealt with COVID-19 patients since March 2020, though, the unions have demanded that the Ford government rescind the bill in the name of fairness for their pandemic efforts.

Ford famously replied that the gratitude of the province means more to healthcare workers than cash.

That comment and the situation still stings NDPer Stevens, who said, “It should be Ontario’s top priority to retain hospital workers, but Doug Ford’s unfair one per cent wage cap holds healthcare workers from fair bargaining – whether it’s wages that keep up with inflation, or much-needed increases to mental health supports like psychotherapy and post traumatic stress disorder counselling.”

She added that given the pressures of the pandemic, it’s time for Ford and his government to show healthcare workers his often-stated admiration for them isn’t just empty words.

“Healthcare workers stepped up for Ontario throughout the entire pandemic but it is about more than that. They deserve the right to bargain fairly, to be provided with the respect, protection and pay that is deserved,” she said.

“If the Premier really thinks they’re heroes, then it is time to treat them that way!”

(Photo courtesy of Jennie Stevens Facebook)

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