Though the announcement spoke to front line workers in acute care, long-term care and home and community care who are working to address the health needs of Ontarians during the pandemic the list that accompanies the announcement includes some professions but not others such as physiotherapists or physiotherapist assistants and many other health professions working in these sectors.
OPA advocated for inclusion for physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants.
On May 27 OPA received notification in the form of memorandum from the Deputy Minister of Health Helen Angus which stated that:
“As you know, on April 25, the government announced it is providing eligible frontline and support workers with temporary pandemic pay.
Since that time, we have received inquiries about whether the list of eligible workers or workplaces would be expanded. There is a limit to the amount of funding provided by the federal government through our agreement and after careful consideration, the government will not be expanding the pandemic pay beyond those already deemed eligible.”
For physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants this means that only those who meet the requirements in Long-Term Care Homes and Licensed Retirement Homes are included in the program.
Though the list will not be expanded due to insufficient funds we feel strongly all health care providers who face the same risk should be eligible for the same pandemic pay supplements and publicly recognized for their work in during the pandemic. OPA will continue to push to ensure that the vital role that physiotherapy plays during this health care crisis is understood and valued and we thank all our members who took the time to share how their work impacts patients with their MPP, the Minister of Health and the Premier.
On June 3, OPA President, Paulette Gardiner Millar issued a letter to members of the OPA indicating that OPA will not stop advocating for the recognition by government for the critical and essential work that physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants are doing during this pandemic and beyond but we will not wait for the government either.
Members can login to the OPA website to read the letter.
Members are being encouraged to use #WeArePT and share how you have been, and are there now for Ontarians every day. Members are to share their stories of impact on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and include the hashtag. OPA continues to share these stories so that the public and decision makers can see the value of PT and the difference we make for Ontarians.