Jeff Burch MPP, Niagara Centre

Government of Ontario

Burch demands Health Minister immediately reverse directive that denies pay to health care workers who need to self-isolate

Published on November 24, 2020

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) has demanded the Ford government reverse a directive from the Ministry of Health that tells hospitals to stop paying frontline heath care workers who self-report when they are exposed to COVID-19 and are forced to go into isolation.
“This government likes to talk about the hard work done by nurses, doctors, personal support workers and other frontline health care workers, correctly calling them ‘heroes’. Yet the actions of this government put them in an impossible situation, having to choose between reporting an exposure and feeding their family,” said Burch during question period at the Ontario legislature Tuesday.
“Will this Minister investigate, reverse this disgraceful directive, and ensure that front-line health care workers in Ontario’s hospitals receive their full pay when they are mandated by the employer to self-isolate due to COVID-19?,” Burch asked Health Minister Christine Elliott. 
Burch has heard from Niagara’s frontline heroes who have had to juggle their finances to cover mortgage payments because this government refuses to pay them when they need to isolate to protect themselves and their patients. Burch has been contacted by other local health care workers who’ve been told that previous sick pay they received was deemed an “over payment” and must be paid back. Local union representatives in Niagara are seeing a surge in retirements and staff shortages.
“Health care workers are risking their safety to care for the people of this province, and it is absolutely shameful that this government will not even compensate them when they are exposed to COVID-19. Cases are rising and the risk is increasing, yet with holidays around the corner this government has decided to cut corners on of the backs of front line health care workers,” said Burch. 
“Will the Minister value health care workers in this province, treat them with the respect they deserve, and ensure that when they are exposed to COVID-19 in the community or in the line of duty, they will fairly compensated and made whole by the people of Ontario?,” asked Burch.
Burch wrote a letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott last week, requesting that she immediately reverse this change and provide Niagara’s health system with adequate funding to ensure staff who need to self-isolate are able to do so without the risk of losing income.

Jeff Burch letter to Christine Elliott (November 19)

Video of Burch's questions to the Health Minister