Union issues response to province’s failed recruitment and retention strategy for PSWs and nurses

Richmond Hill, Ontario — SEIU Healthcare, a union representing over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, issued the following statement from union president Sharleen Stewart in response to the temporary wage extension for personal support workers (PSWs):

“Today we learned the Ford government at Queen’s Park has doubled-down on a failed recruitment and retention strategy that denies healthcare workers the long-term economic security they need to remain on the job.

It’s just cruel to string PSWs along a few months at a time instead of providing them with the certainty of a secure job.

The provincial government refuses to confront the ongoing health human resource crisis, so it’s no surprise that we’re losing more healthcare workers than we’re recruiting. That means critical care services for patients and seniors are at risk.

SEIU Healthcare has long called on the premier to permanently increase the minimum wage for all low-wage healthcare workers, like PSWs, to at least $25 per hour and to make that wage universal across the system, whether staff work in hospitals, long-term care, or home care and community care.

We’re also calling on the province to address the exodus of registered practical nurses (RPNs) by increasing their wages to a provincial minimum of at least $35 per hour.

The government must act now to make to make paid sick days permanent, instead of letting that protection expire in the middle of flu season and while the pandemic continues to spread.

Healthcare workers no longer want the title of hero; they simple want to be treated as human.

Healthcare jobs have no longer become good jobs in Doug Ford’s Ontario.”


SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. www.seiuhealthcare.ca