$52.5M pledged for health care workers as second wave of COVID continues

Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott speaks with reporters at Queens Park in Toronto, accompanied by Finance Minister Rod Phillips, left, Premier Doug Ford, and Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, September 28, 2020.. Photo courtesy YouTube/CPAC.

As a new wave of COVID-19 cases is in full swing, the Ontario government has pledged funding to recruit and train health care professionals to help fight it.

In his daily news briefing Monday afternoon at Queens Park, Premier Doug Ford announced that the province will invest $52.5 million to recruit, retain, and support 3,700 additional health care workers, to deal with any surge in demand as the surge in cases continues.

Ford pleaded with Ontarians to keep vigilant and reminded people that it is up to them to follow pandemic control guidelines and to get a flu shot to reduce the impact a second wave may have.

“We know that we’re in the second wave, and we know that it will be worse than the first,” said Ford. “The reality is, it’s up to each of us, together, our collective actions, that decide whether we face a wave or a tsunami.”

Minister of Health Christine Elliott said the additional funding is vital to providing top-notch medical care to those affected by the virus.

“Retaining and increasing the number of frontline health care workers in our continuous fight against COVID-19 is critical,” said Elliott. “We are taking further action to ensure our frontline health care workers are supported, and the health care sector has the staff to provide timely, high-quality care.”

A sum of $26.3 million of the money will support the training of personal health care workers, the recruitment and hiring of newly-graduated workers, and accelerated refresher training for about 220 students with prior healthcare experience.

The remaining $26 million will support nursing. The money will boost the Ontario Nursing Graduate Guarantee Program, and add 800 nurses to the harder-hit public health systems.

Complete updates on the measures being taken by Ontario to fight COVID-19 can be found on the government’s official website.