Quebec announces new bonuses for front-line health-care workers in fight against COVID-19

For those working in CHSLDs — the province's long-term care homes which are the site of the most serious outbreaks — the bonus will amount to as much as $1,000 per month.

Those working full-time in residences with confirmed COVID-19 cases to get up to $1K extra per month

A patient attendant at CHSLD Éloria Lepage in Montreal. Those working full-time in facilities where there is at least one confirmed COVID-19 case will receive an additional $1,000 per month. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Facing a continuing critical shortage of workers, the Quebec government announced today further measures to boost salaries for those on the front line of the battle against COVID-19.

Full-time workers in CHSLDs — the province's long-term care homes where the majority of Quebec's most serious outbreaks have been — will see bonuses up to $1,000 per month.

"Our biggest challenge remains the lack of staff in our health-care system," said Quebec Premier François Legault Thursday.

He said the bonuses would be covered in part by Ottawa as part of a $4-billion deal to boost the pay of essential workers across the country.

All those working full-time in long-term care homes will get an additional $100 per week. If there is at least one confirmed case of the virus in the facility, they will get an additional $200 after two consecutive weeks of work, and a further $400 after four weeks of consecutive work.

The bonuses will apply to anyone working with seniors in care, in public or private long-term care institutions (CHSLDs), in seniors' homes for more autonomous residents (RPAs), and in so-called intermediate resources (residences for seniors and others who require less than three hours' daily care).

Also covered are some hospital workers, such as nurses and orderlies, in the Montreal area who work in hot zones — where there are confirmed COVID-19 patients being treated.

Quebec Treasury Board President Christian Dubé said more than half of workers in the health-care network — and more than 60 per cent of those working in government-funded long-term care homes — work part-time.

He said the bonuses are meant to provide incentives to those working part-time to pick up more hours, and to keep working.

Bonuses of $2,000 per month will also be given to health-care workers from other regions of Quebec who decide to come work in Montreal.

"We need you all to fight in this battle," he said.

This is the second time the government has increased wages of health-care workers since the pandemic began. On April 2, the government gave all CHSLD workers and any health-care workers who come into direct contact with COVID-19 patients an eight per cent raise.

For a patient attendant, or préposé aux béneficiares, in the public system, that meant a new minimum wage of $24.28. For those in private care homes, where wages are often much lower, it meant a $4 hourly raise.

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