Ottawa and the provinces have struck a deal to boost the pay of essential workers. Together they're going to cough up four billion dollars to top up the near-slave wages of those who change grandma's sheets and empty her bed pan.
Yet this is another example of a quick fix to an enduring problem. Government putting up money because the private sector refuses to pay its workers a living wage. We wind up subsidizing the nursing homes where our loved ones have been dying during this pandemic.
"We know, however, that once we get through this, in the months and years to come, we're also going to have to have reflections about how we manage and how we maintain our long-term care facilities, how we support essential workers who are very low paid, how we move forward as a society to make sure that our vulnerable are properly taken care of and properly rewarded for the important work they do."What's wrong with making it easier for these workers to unionize and collectively bargain? How about giving workers the ability to invoke mandatory arbitration? Perhaps a guaranteed wage so these essential workers don't have to work two or more jobs, worsening the chance of transmitting diseases from one nursing home to another?
If we don't want ghetto economics to remain the key to private care nursing homes, that must change. If the private sector can't or won't do the job isn't it time for government to step in? They do that fast enough when it's Justin Trudeau's Trans Mountain pipeline or Jason Kenney's Keystone XL. Why can't they do as much for our elderly and vulnerable? People shouldn't be a secondary priority of their governments.