Sent on December 23rd, 2021
As the Omicron wave of the pandemic slams Ontario, we have become acutely aware of the increasing number of very sick patients and the demands on our health care system.
We have begun to hear from residents enquiring if they can be asked to cancel or change vacations or provide additional back-up call.
I want to make sure that all our members are aware of a special voluntary program that PARO negotiated with the Ministry of Health that provides for residents to be paid out of a special fund in the event you are being asked to provide extra coverage outside of your normally scheduled call.
The Medical Resident Redeployment Program was put into place in April. This program authorizes you to provide patient care services outside the regular scope of your license and enables hospitals to employ or contract those services. The program was supposed to end this month, but a few days ago, 51 hospitals in Ontario that are experiencing increased demands related to COVID, were made aware that the program has been extended to March 31, 2022.
What does this mean?
This is a voluntary program. If you want to work as part of the program and are assigned to provide additional patient care outside of the normal hours of your training program in a hospital or approved setting, you will be paid $50/hour for this work. This extra pay does not apply if it is service that you would normally be providing as part of your training and for which you are receiving credit – that is covered by your regular salary and call stipends as applicable. However, if you are being asked to provide additional patient care, including on another service, or if you provide any care while on vacation, or work in a hospital affiliated vaccine clinic, then the hospital can hire you to do this work and pay you $50/hr. Similarly, if you are asked to volunteer to cover extra call on the weekend or at night, then this program would apply.
The CPSO has confirmed that you are licensed to provide this extra work for pay and the CMPA has confirmed that you are covered if your educational CMPA coverage is valid. We have also agreed in these extraordinary times to an exception to the collective agreement so that if you have the capacity and choose to participate in this program, this extra work will not be subject to the maximum duty hours in the PARO-CAHO Collective Agreement. However, at the same time, you cannot be pressured or coerced into doing this extra work.
For those of you who have been asked to volunteer to work extra shifts or who are thinking of volunteering in the future, we have worked hard to ensure that there is a way for all residents to be eligible and to ensure that you will receive extra pay for doing so, as a tangible way of recognizing your contribution.
I would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, CPSO, CMPA, CAHO, OHA and all of the PG Deans for their solution-oriented collaboration.
The COVID-19 pandemic is demanding a lot of our health care system. PARO is committed to ensuring that you are kept healthy and safe. Visit the dedicated PARO COVID web page created earlier in the pandemic that houses all our COVID-related information and contains answers to many of the questions we are regularly asked.
Dr. Carl White Ulysse