As a proud healthcare worker, Donna McColl suits up each day as a housekeeper at North Island Comox Valley Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s scary definitely,” said McColl.
As a healthcare worker, McColl should have been among those to receive the provincial government’s long-promised pandemic pay, but she’s seen a dollar and she’s not alone.
“It’s really disappointing,” she said.
McColl is among the countless other hospital housekeepers, long-term care aides, and other healthcare frontline workers who have not yet received pandemic pay.
B.C. Premier John Horgan promised to provide 250,000 eligible front-line workers with one-time temporary pandemic pay — a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period from March 15 to July 4.
Following months of delays, pandemic pay began flowing to eligible workers in early October and employers had until Oct. 31 to submit claims to the province’s temporary pandemic pay program.
CHEK News broke the story last night about how hospital housekeepers at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Victoria General Hospitals have not received pandemic pay.
Immediately after the story aired, numerous other workers — many of them wished to remain anonymous — reached out to CHEK and told the same story.
“It’s almost a kick in the face to us,” said Jason Zotek, a housekeeper who works at the North Island Comox Valley Hospital.
According to Zotek neither his staff of 130 nor housekeepers working at another hospital in Campbell River have received pandemic pay.
“Every one of them,” he said.
“They could really use it. Especially the ones that are struggling with children.”
Those who wished to remain anonymous worked at hospital and care facilities across Vancouver Island, in places such as Victoria, Central Saanich, Nanaimo, Comox and Campbell River.
One employee at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, said housekeepers haven’t received any money. Another said care aides and housekeepers working at private facilities in Central Saanich that haven’t been paid either.
In a statement to CHEK, Island Health said its role is to validate the contracted service providers’ temporary pandemic pay submissions, allowing the province to make the payments, and that money is on the way.
“This process is underway and we understand the contracted service providers should receive their temporary pandemic pay soon,” Island Health said.
CHEK also reached out to the provincial government for comment but did not receive a response prior to broadcast or publication.
Are you a frontline healthcare worker who has not received pandemic pay and would like to share your story on record with CHEK? E-mail us at [email protected].