Raise, what raise? Local Personal Support Workers still waiting

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Extendicare is holding back the $3 an hour wage increase dolled out by the province in October.

Multiple PSW’s have come to SaultOnline expressing their disappointment in not being paid the wage increase since it was brought into effect. The two homes currently not getting the raise are Extendicare Mapleview and F.J. Davey.

“Well we are tired, We are tired of being overworked, We are tired of being lied to, We are tired of having made promises too and for 2.5 months been given the runaround,” said one PSW. We have given them anonymity to protect them from repercussions.

“We are exhausted I know that there are plenty of rumours of when we will be getting this increase But after 2.5 months of waiting, I think we have all waited long enough.”

They told us they have been in contact with both MPP Ross Romano’s office and the Extendicare head office. Romano’s office has said the funding was released, Extendicare has said they haven’t received it yet.

Other PSW’s across the province have received the increase including employees from Extendicare according to another person familiar with the situation.

SaultOnline reached out to Extendicare today but has yet to receive any response explaining why their employees haven’t received the increase.


  1. For years, those living and working in nursing and retirement homes across the country have struggled as overburdened caregivers tried to maintain a basic level of care and dignity for aging and ailing Canadians.

    It happened behind closed doors, with people typically only knowing the state of things if they or their loved ones moved into a long-term care facility.

    Then the pandemic struck, and the deficiencies turned deadly.
    It didn’t just shine a light, it shone a cascade of halogen lights.
    And the public’s horrified.

    Deaths in long-term care facilities now account for more than 80% of the roughly 13,700 deaths from COVID-19 in Canada.

    It’s been benign neglect. Nobody set out to plan a system that will hurt older adults.

    Canada has the troubling distinction of having the highest proportion of COVID-19 deaths related to care homes of 16 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

    A fundamental redesign is needed, but it is an incredibly complex task. Long-term care is a provincial jurisdiction, and it differs from province to province.

    One thing they typically have in common, is being staffed by low-wage, part-time workers – and understaffed, at that.

    The typical nursing home has one, maybe two RN’s per shift
    Personal support workers do the bulk of the caregiving in these homes.

    Many are women who worked in several care homes to cobble together the hours they need to make a full salary. (That practice has been banned in the pandemic).

    Invariably there aren’t enough PSW’s, who are then impossibly overworked, overstressed, , underpaid, usually on contract with no benefits, no sick days, irregular hours with no vacation time and subject to regular verbal and physical abuse.

    One girl graduated from the PSW program and on her first day at work at a nursing home, left for lunch and never returned, opting for work as a server at a restaurant.

    Canada can’t continue paying these workers minimum wage.

    The Canadian Labour Congress has published 21 recommendations to improve long-term care once the crisis has passed, including higher wages and legislating staff ratios. It also recommends the elimination of private homes and an increase in federal oversight by making long-term care a part of the Canada Health Act.

    The Canadian Labour Congress said private nursing homes and public health-care interests are diametrically opposed, as they attempt to maximize profit, often on the backs of workers and patients.

    Literature has shown that private homes are associated with lower quality of care, according to Elizabeth Kwan, senior researcher at the Canadian Labour Congress.

    The Ontario Health Coalition, a booster of public health care, gathered data related to COVID-19 deaths in for-profit, non-profit and public homes in Ontario.

    In homes where there were deaths, the proportion of deaths out of the total number of beds in for-profit homes was 9 per cent. The proportion was 5 per cent in non-profit homes and 3 per cent in public municipal homes. The analysis looked at about 200 homes in Ontario.

    Canada’s population is getting older, people are living longer and with more complex health and social needs. Rates of patients with dementia in long-term care homes is rising.

    The funding of these homes has not kept pace to the level of care they’re expected to be providing.

    Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care acknowledged that province’s system is “broken” and has endured years of neglect.

    Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that she’s considering the idea of a “long-term national project” to examine the issue across all levels of government.

    “There is a significant appetite of Canadians and of politicians to fix this situation once and for all — for seniors all across the country, and for their families who love them.”

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