On April 25, 2020, the Ontario government announced that frontline workers would be provided with a temporary pandemic payment of $4 per hour on top of existing hourly wages. This week, the Association  of Ontario Midwives (AOM) has been advocating through various channels at the Ministry of Health for reconsideration to add midwives and their auxiliary staff to the list of workers designated to receive this payment. These efforts have been unsuccessful.

On Friday, Michael Hillmer, Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health, confirmed that midwives and staff in midwifery clinics and birth centres will not be included in pandemic pay. The eligibility criteria stated by ADM Hillmer included workers essential to providing care and curtailing the spread of COVID19, lower paid workers and areas where retention may be an issue.

We’re angry, disappointed and dismayed that midwives and staff at midwifery clinics and birth centres haven’t been included. We are deeply concerned this is an indication that decision-makers at ministry level fail to understand the work that midwives do.

Midwives provide primary care to clients and their babies in hospitals, community clinics and in home. They play a crucial part in keeping healthy pregnant and birthing people and newborns out of overwhelmed hospital systems, which further helps to curtail the spread of illness. They are essential and cannot walk away from pregnant and labouring Ontarians.

By continuing to work through the pandemic, midwives put themselves and their own families at risk every day. Pandemic payment would be a signal that these efforts and risks are recognized, respected and valued.

We are posting messages on social media today expressing our outrage and letting government know midwives are essential to providing care during the pandemic and curtailing the spread of COVID19.

Please add your voice, particularly with messages on Twitter using the hashtags #MidwivesOnTheFrontline
#TellMeImNotEssential and #PandemicPay, and tag @ontariomidwives, @fordnation and @celliottability.

source: AOM





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