I’m writing to provide you with an update on the vacation payout that we have been promised by the Ministry for our members who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were unable to take vacation for the year ending June 30, 2020.
I can assure you that we have been in regular contact with the VP Labour Relations for the Ontario Hospital Association, who has been representing CAHO in discussions with the Ministry regarding their agreement to provide the vacation payout. The Ministry has repeatedly provided reassurance that the funds will be released to the pay centres but to date, the money hasn’t arrived.
This week we learned that the pay centre for residents at Western University was told by the Ministry that if they issued the payments from their own reserves that they would be reimbursed. We have been led to believe that residents at Western University who are eligible to receive the vacation payout will receive the money on their paycheque today (December 11th). We have reached out to the other pay centres to see if they have enough reserves to be able to do the same thing. We have also contacted each of the Postgraduate Deans to ask for their assistance in encouraging the pay centres to issue cheques with the reassurance that they will be reimbursed by the Ministry.
I know how demoralizing this delay is for all of us. To be amongst the long list of frontline health care workers the government didn’t recognize as deserving of pandemic pay earlier this year was one thing, but to not be paid the money that they agreed to pay us in a reasonable timeframe is unacceptable. Although I am confident that we will all be paid the money owed to us, I wanted to send you this message today to let you know that we are doing everything that we can to get the funds we deserve before the end of the year.
This has been a difficult year for so many of us and I want to thank all of you for being exemplars for the profession. I have heard so many stories of residents going the extra mile to care for their patients and to offer support for one another. During this pandemic, residents have truly embodied the PARO motto of “Inspired by our love of medicine” and I want to ensure you that your efforts do not go unnoticed.
Last, I would like to wish everyone the very best during this holiday season and to send you wishes on behalf of PARO that you and your families have a Happy New Year.
Dr. Ryan Giroux