Saskatchewan partners with government of Canada to boost wages of COVID-19 essential workers

June 1, 2020
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Workers in Saskatchewan caring for some of the province’s most vulnerable citizens were eligible for a 16-week boost in pay this spring as the result of a program largely financed by the Government of Canada and administered by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance. The Temporary Wage Supplement Program was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the program’s first phase, a wage supplement of $400 per month was made available to home health care workers as well as individuals employed at long-term-care facilities, child care centers, emergency and transition shelters, and community-based group homes. To be eligible, workers had to have monthly earnings of less than $2,500. In early June, the province expanded the program by waiving the income threshold for workers at certain long-term-care facilities (those under public health orders to restrict visitations due to COVID-19).

According to the Regina Leader-Post, the cost of the program is $56 million, with about $3 million coming from the province. Under individual agreements with the provinces and territories, the Government of Canada is providing up to $3 billion in support to temporarily increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Saskatchewan’s program is running for 16 weeks, March 15 to July 4.