The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extensive demands on front-line health-care workers but the majority did not initially qualify for the federal top-up program. That is why Premier Stephen McNeil lobbied the federal government for flexibility around its program.
Today, May 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the program and now Nova Scotia has signed on to provide a cash bonus for those in the health-care sector supporting the COVID-19 response.
“Front-line health-care providers are working flat out to keep Nova Scotians safe and healthy during this unprecedented time, sometimes putting their own lives at risk,” said Premier McNeil. “We are pleased to partner with the federal government on a program that recognizes the hard work and unique challenges front-line health-care workers face due to COVID-19.”
The Essential Health Care Workers Program will see health-care workers receive a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, beginning March 13. It includes eligible employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and in long-term care, home care and in-home support and emergency health services. Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive this benefit.
The program is expected to benefit up to 43,000 health-care workers in the province. The Department of Health and Wellness will work with its partners to deliver the money.
- the province will contribute $13.4 million, with the federal government contribution being $80.5 million
- the program will apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers as well as cleaning staff
- eligible health-care employees who work during the pandemic can receive the benefit, and employees will need to work during all four months to receive the maximum $2,000
- those who work during the four months but are placed on isolation, quarantine or COVID-19 sick leave are also eligible
- the first public health measures related to COVID-19 were announced March 13
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information on government’s coronavirus response at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397