Pandemic Pay for Frontline Workers - April 27, 2020

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Office of the Minister
777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2J3

Ministère des Affaires municipales et du Logement
Bureau du minister
777, rue Bay, 17e étage
Toronto ON M7A 2J3


April 27, 2020

Re: Pandemic Pay for Frontline Workers

Dear Service Manager:

Protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians is our government’s number one priority, and we are focused on our response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our government has been listening closely to our partners in the housing and homelessness sector who are at the frontlines of this pandemic. We heard about your need for flexible funding to address a range of COVID-related needs across your communities and moved quickly to provide funding through the new Social Services Relief Fund.

And we continue to listen and take action.

Those working in emergency shelters and supportive housing face a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. This has led to staffing challenges in many communities across the province. It is vital that we take action to ensure our delivery partners have the staff they need to deliver services for some of Ontario’s most vulnerable people.

On April 25, the Premier announced temporary pandemic pay for essential frontline workers, including those working in emergency shelters and supportive housing. Under this initiative, eligible staff will receive a $4/hour wage increase over 16 weeks. In addition, eligible staff will receive a $250 lump sum payment monthly to help cover expenses such as commuting costs.

This temporary pandemic pay recognizes the important work of those providing critical services to some of the province’s most vulnerable people during this challenging time.

The temporary wage increase will be available to staff in emergency shelters, respite/drop-in centres, temporary shelter facilities, hotels/motels used for self-isolation and/or shelter overflow and outreach workers.

Staff working in supportive housing facilities will also be eligible for this temporary pandemic pay. This could include those in security, counselors, and maintenance and cleaning staff. Management is excluded.

Recognizing their role in local service delivery and their relationship with a range of providers across their communities, Service Managers and Indigenous Program Administrators will administer the temporary wage increase to eligible staff.

As always, my ministry will work with you and are counting on your support to implement this important benefit for your staff and the staff of the organizations you work with in your communities.

I am pleased that our government is able to work together with you to continue to support the important work you do to improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents.


Steve Clark, Minister