With Toronto and Peel joining nearly all of Ontario in entering Stage 2 of reopening, CUPE Ontario calls for a new normal with a permanent front-line pay increase.

Until August 16, almost 400,000 front-line workers in Ontario will receive a $4/hour pandemic pay increase as an acknowledgement of the low wages many earn and as a recognition of their invaluable service. With reopening underway, CUPE Ontario is concerned that the pay increase will end - and the union is ramping up its call to make it permanent.

“These have been hard times for many and it’s understandable that people just want to get back to normal - but for most Ontarians, normal wasn’t good enough,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “The front-line workers who stepped up when we needed them most and made this moment possible deserve a pay increase which is permanent. The pandemic has shone a light on the impacts of the historic undervaluing of care work that lead to low wages and precarious work. We cannot return to the ways of the past.”

CUPE Ontario notes that the many front-line workers who haven’t seen a pay increase should see a permanent boost as well.

“Many of the front-line workers that this government correctly calls heroes aren’t paid at a rate that’s commensurate with their contributions to our communities,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “We needed to see dedicated funding to make their welcomed pay increase permanent.”