As the pandemic surges and hospital capacity is stretched to its limit, the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program is coming to an abrupt end. According to CUPE Saskatchewan, the government should extend the time period and include more front-line workers in the program.

“It is ridiculous that the second phase of the wage top-up program ends today, even though COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise and workers providing critical care face increased workload and strain,” said Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “It is even more ridiculous how many workers are being forgotten about by this government in general.”

Health care workers outside of long-term care and home care for seniors are not eligible for the wage top-up program. Neither are workers at community-based group homes, licensed childcare facilities, emergency shelters, and transition shelters (short stay and emergency transition housing), even though they were able to access funds during the first phase of the program.

“Workers at community-based organizations have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one – putting themselves at risk to provide services to Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable residents. It’s time the government recognize the many frontlines of this pandemic with the wage top-up program,” added Henley.

CUPE Saskatchewan is calling for the wage top-up to be extended beyond January 13 and expanded to include all workers providing hands-on care across Saskatchewan.

“The government has seen fit to extend public health measures for an additional two weeks.  I sincerely hope that they will also extend and expand their wage top-up program to include all front-line workers,” said Henley. “We will continue to shine a spotlight on the important work our members are doing, and demand that the government treat all frontline workers with respect.”