This is a win for people who are working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential workers in Canada are about to get a raise in every province and territory, the Prime Minister announced. However, the federal government isn't deciding exactly who gets the money.
On May 7, Justin Trudeau announced an agreement between the federal government and each province and territory to top up wages for essential workers across the country.
At the moment, the details are being finalized but Trudeau mentioned that all the premiers agreed that these workers need to be supported.
"We're relying on these workers now more than ever and we will be there to support them," he said.
Provinces and territories will get to decide who is considered essential and what workers will get this wage top-up.
So, people will have to turn to their own regional governments to see if they're considered essential and qualify for this raise.
"This has been a truly collaborative effort," Trudeau said.
The federal government will provide $4 billion in order to fund this initiative, the PM stated. However, he later said in a tweet that this amount it actually $3 billion.*
Three-quarters of the money for these top-up programs will come from Ottawa and one quarter will come from the provinces and territories.
PM Trudeau announces agreement with provinces re wage top-up for essential workers. Provs decide who qualifies, PM… https://t.co/vzMVotGUWb— CPAC (@CPAC)1588864761.0
"If you're risking your health to keep the country moving and you're making minimum wage, you deserve a raise," Trudeau said.
The Prime Minister also noted that essential workers deserve more than just gratitude, they deserve to be properly paid for the work they're doing.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic is at different stages in different parts of Canada and there are different approaches to essential work, it's up to the provinces and territories to decide how to distribute the funding.
Trudeau mentioned that for this top-up, some provinces are drawing from lists they had created of workers that are considered to be essential.
"I thank the premiers for the continued Team Canada approach," Trudeau said.
Some provincial governments have already announced their support for frontline staff. Ontario's premier Doug Ford committed a $4 hourly pay raise for every worker, regardless of their current wage.
Frontline working Ontarians are eligible for an additional boost of up to $250 a month. This sum is specifically for those who work longer hours.
According to the Government of Canada, there are ten job sectors that are considered essential to the country's functioning and the wellbeing of its residents.
These include Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing.
From these, provinces and territories will create their own parameters and distribute the funds as they see fit.
*Editor's Note: This story has been updated.