Housekeeping staff at two North Island Hospitals in Campbell River and Courtenay are questioning why it’s taking so long to receive their temporary pandemic pay.
“We are the ones who are at the front of this. We are the ones cleaning up the rooms after isolation patients so I believe that we deserve it,” said Laura Scott, a housekeeper at Campbell River and District Hospital.
“We’ve been working all this time in the hospital during the pandemic and I just feel that all our workers deserve to get their money,” added Leah Sutherland.
The $4.00 an hour lump-sum payment was promised by the Province to about 250,000 front-line workers in health, social services and corrections last May for work done between March 15 and July 4, 2020.
The vast majority of those eligible have already been paid, but not these workers.
“We were told when Crothall left the hospital here that we were going to be paid out by December. It’s come and gone. January has come and gone. February has come and gone, we’re getting a bit tired of their excuses,” said housekeeper Robert Beaudin.
Crothall Healthcare was the company the housekeepers used to work for, but the contract changed last fall and they now work for Island Health.
Crothall Healthcare still owes workers the pandemic pay but the money comes from the BC Government.
A Ministry of Finance spokesperson said, “In the case of this employer, Ministry staff were only able to finalize the claim submissions and distribute funding to the employer this week due to a particularly complicated application.”
“These complexities do not excuse the amount of time these workers have had to wait for their funds, and we apologize for the frustration this caused for people who are working hard to provide services,” the statement reads. “We can confirm that the pandemic pay funds have recently been sent to the employer.”
Ministry staff have completed a review of all claims submitted under the Temporary Pandemic Pay program. The Province says it has distributed pandemic pay funding for roughly 220,000 employees, representing 98 per cent of claims.”
“Pandemic pay means a lot to us. You know it’s going to catch up a couple of bills, going to buy a few new things,” said housekeeper Karen Bogie.
Crothall Healthcare notes, “We know the pandemic pay process has taken longer than expected. Our associates absolutely deserve this pay and we sincerely thank them for their outstanding contributions and patience during this time.”
The organization went on to say they’ve been “working diligently” with clients and the BC Government regarding the pandemic pay process.
“As we are a subcontractor at these locations, the process for approval and payment in the North Island Hospitals is complex and we are awaiting funds to disburse to associates. We are grateful for the provincial government’s funding of pandemic pay and look forward to promptly providing these funds to associates,” Crothall Healthcare states.