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- by Barbara Fletcher

I have written before about the hazards of my line of work, especially for those of us who work in home-care; the hazard came home to roost for me this past week when I came down with a viral illness, the symptoms of which began on Saturday in the wee hours of the morning.

Sore throat, cough, congestion, runny nose, intermittent headache, tiredness.

I do not think it’s COVID-19 (the disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus), but I know it’s viral, as was confirmed by the doctor in the emergency department yesterday.
I needed a note for my employer: I am not to go back to work until my symptoms have subsided.
This means that on top of the three workdays I’ve already lost, I will lose at least one more (as well as my day off).

My already low pay has gotten worse for this pay period.

This is why I am extremely cautious about IPAC (infection prevention and control, e.g. PPE); I cannot afford to get sick because I (and mine) have absolutely NO sick days.

The last time I was ill was with a cold two years ago; then, we had been given two paid sick days by the previous government which I was able to use before the new government took them away.

Today my brain was not as fogged as it has been for the past couple of days, and I started to think about where I could possibly have gotten this illness. I then remembered a certain visit this week which meets the criteria. This would make it a ‘work-related illness’, meaning I would qualify for WSIB.
That battle begins.

This brings me to the recent further kick in the gut announced by this government: Ford stated “They are grossly underpaid in my opinion...” after conversations he had with PSWs at his mother-in-law’s LTC (long-term care facility). And he said he will change things.

He did not state that he spoke to home-care PSWs, so, as usual, we were overlooked.
We, who keep your loved ones safe and healthy in their own homes, safe out of hospitals and long-term care facilities.

One change is the $3/hr raise (less than the previous $4/hr) we will get, which again, will only be temporary and again, not all of us will get it.
Then there is the $5000 incentive for 2000 new graduates of a PSW programs, designed to compel them to commit to working in LTC, and in the home and community sectors for six months.
My Union and Network fight for me and mine, but there is only so much they can do; in the meantime, there are many of us who are not taking this well.

What about us?

WE, who keep your loved ones safely in their own homes.
WE, who keep your loved ones out of hospitals and LTC facilities.

WE...who have thrown ourselves into the line of fire since the beginning of the pandemic, putting your loved ones’ health and well-being above our own.

Pay us what we're worth.




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