May 28, 2020

Late yesterday, the Ministry of Health’s Deputy Minister, Helen Angus, sent out the attached memo outlining the pandemic pay program for their programs. For the municipal sector, this will include public health and paramedic services. We understand that additional details on the pandemic pay program for long-term care homes, and housing and shelters will be coming shortly.

It has been confirmed that the Province will not be expanding the pandemic pay program beyond those already deemed eligible. It has also been clarified that the Province’s program is for those front-line staff that have direct physical interaction with people who may be infected with COVID-19 e.g. where physical distancing is difficult or not possible. As stated previously, the Province has been clear that this will not apply to management, even those who have or are working in providing front-line services to residents, patients, or the public. It is expected that more detailed discussions with the respective program areas will occur shortly to better define who is eligible under this provincial program.  

In the first week of June, ministries will start sending funding details to employers that receive funding directly from government and service delivery managers. Eligible employees will receive pandemic pay through their existing payroll systems. Appropriate accountability requirements will be put in place to make sure that this temporary funding is provided to eligible employees. The provincial pandemic pay program website was updated today.

Under this temporary program, municipal governments have eligible full and part-time front-line staff who work in the following program areas:  public health, paramedic services, long-term care homes, and housing and shelters. This will involve three ministries and four program areas.  We are concerned that the administration of this program may be complex given this broad array of municipal front-line services, so we are urging simplicity as the provincial program details are worked out. We have been advised that the ministries are working together to this end.

We will continue to work with the Province and many municipal staff associations, such as the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association, as the provincial program design detail is being finalized so that its implementation for those eligible municipal staff goes well.

Once we have further operational details on the pandemic pay program for municipal employers, we will host another Labour Relations webinar. Stay tuned.

AMO’s COVID-19 Resources page is being updated continually so you can find critical information in one place. Please send any of your municipally related pandemic questions to covid19@amo.on.ca.