It appears that some essential front-line workers in B.C. are finally receiving long-promised pandemic pay from the provincial government.
A spokesperson with the Ministry of Finance told CHEK in an e-mail that the pandemic pay has been flowing to employees since early October and will continue to be paid out over the coming weeks.
“Funding began to flow to employees at the beginning of this month and it will continue to flow to employees via their employers over the coming weeks,” the ministry spokesperson said.
Specific dollar figures were not provided, however, the spokesperson said the provincial government plans to release more information sometime next month. They also said the deadline for employers to submit claims to the province’s temporary pandemic pay program is Oct. 31.
CHEK has learned that some workers with Island Health did indeed received pandemic pay in early October.
B.C. promised to provide 250,000 eligible front-line workers with one-time temporary pandemic pay, lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period from March 15 to July 4.
The money was expected to begin flowing to eligible employees in the summer but hadn’t as of early September, sparking complaints from the B.C. Government Employees’ Union and eventually a verbal commitment from Premier John Horgan that the money would be coming in October.
The provincial government estimates that the temporary pandemic pay program will cost around $425 million, with 75 per cent of it funded by the federal government.