April 29, 2020 – Message from Dr. Anthea Lafreniere, PARO President
We were very pleased on Saturday to hear the Premier announce the Government’s plan to provide pandemic pay for Ontario’s frontline workers fighting COVID-19. I was, however, greatly disheartened when we saw the list of health care workers and realized that residents were not included. By Monday, we learned that the government was considering expanding the list and I wrote to the Minister of Health Christine Elliott outlining why our members should be included (to read that letter, click here). I was shocked today to learn that, while other frontline workers have been added to the list of those eligible for pandemic pay, our members have still not been included.
A few hours ago, I wrote to Premier Doug Ford outlining the valuable work that each and everyone of you do. I explained that many of you are providing more than 24 hour coverage on the frontline and that many have had their training disrupted in order to be redeployed to treat COVID-19 patients (to read that letter click here).
I implored the Premier to include our members in the Government’s Pandemic Pay Plan and to treat us the same way that all other frontline health care workers are being treated. I told him that it can be demoralizing for resident physicians – separated from friends and family during this time of physical distancing – to be expected to work alongside other employees whose work is being valued while their own essential work is not. That type of signalling from the Ontario government has an emotional toll, the profound effect of which must be recognized.
We have reached out to CAHO to enlist their support in advocating on our behalf to the Government. We have also reached out to the Ontario Postgraduate Deans of Medicine who have confirmed that they will be writing the Premier on our behalf.
We will not stop advocating on your behalf until we have a satisfactory response from the Government. They have expanded the list once since announcing it four days ago and we will not rest until that list is again expanded to include us.