News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 24, 2020

New Benefits Announced for Health-Care Workers Fighting COVID-19

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Agreement Recognizes Efforts of Support Staff, Allow Greater Flexibility for Direct Care and Support Workers to be Redeployed, Reassigned to Priority Areas

The Manitoba government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have reached a new agreement providing compensation to staff redeployed or reassigned to priority areas as part of the province's response to COVID-19, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen and Shannon McAteer, health-care co-ordinator, CUPE, announced today.
“Health-care workers have been at the forefront of Manitoba’s response to the pandemic, showing unrelenting dedication and commitment to patients in hospital and in the community as well as those Manitobans living in personal care homes,” said Friesen. “This agreement recognizes the efforts and sacrifices of staff whose personal and professional lives may be disrupted by a change in their work that is made necessary by the demands of COVID-19.” 
The agreements identify personal care homes (PCHs), intensive care units (ICUs) and dedicated COVID-19 units throughout the province as ‘priority areas’ and enable health-care employers to make changes to work assignments, work locations, schedules, shift patterns and/or hours of work. Redeployment and reassignment are used to respond to increased patient volumes in COVID-19 units or ICUs and to ensure sufficient staffing in PCHs to meet the changing resident care demands resulting from COVID-19.
Affected staff will receive an allowance for each disruption to their normal work schedule or location that is associated with a reassignment or redeployment to any of the identified ‘priority’ health-care settings. 
“CUPE has been on the front lines working to ensure health-care support workers are protected during COVID-19. These are unprecedented times and CUPE is encouraged the government is moving forward collaboratively in developing a plan that recognizes some of the many challenges faced by front-line health workers and the people they serve tirelessly,” said McAteer.
The agreements also provide a COVID-19 northern allowance, which includes travel reimbursement and compensation for staff redeployed to the north. The allowance also extends to staff already working in Manitoba’s north that are reassigned or redeployed to pick up additional shifts elsewhere in the Northern Health Region.
In the case of any reassignment or redeployment, each individual health-care worker’s training and skill level will be taken into account, as well as the region in which they work. Seniority will also be taken into consideration where possible. Staff will be assigned according to skillset and area of greatest need and are provided with appropriate training and orientation to their new work environment and team. They are also provided with the necessary personal protective equipment for the setting for which they work.
Staff already receiving wage supplement under the existing provincial Caregiver Wage Support Program, which tops up hourly wages for those providing direct patient or residential care to vulnerable Manitobans in PCHs, are not eligible for the similar benefits provided by the new agreements.
The CUPE agreement follows a similar agreement signed earlier this month between the Manitoba government and the Manitoba Nurses Union. A similar agreement was also signed with the Manitoba Government Employees Union.  
All agreements are in place for the duration of the pandemic response.
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