An arbitration award has come down for some hospital workers.
Laboratory technologists, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists and others represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union will receive 8.25% more in wages over three years.
This adds to the one per cent hike received before Bill 124 was struck down by the courts.
The award is retroactive to April 2022 and includes lump sum payments of $750 - $1,750 for hospital professionals excluded from receiving pandemic pay in 2020 and increases to shift and weekend premiums.
OPSEU says the award is a step forward but will not do enough to resolve hospital recruitment and retention problems.
"While the wage increases, premiums and benefits from the award are much-needed to begin addressing the staffing crisis in Ontario's hospitals – an issue Arbitrator Kaplan acknowledged in the decision – they, unfortunately, fall short of being competitive enough to recruit and retain highly-skilled hospital professionals," says Sandi Blancher, HPD Bargaining Team Chair in a statement.
"After years of stagnant wages, chronic understaffing that has resulted in our time off being denied, and chronically heavy workloads – this award is a start, but more needs to be done."
The union is also disappointed the award does not fully address the rising cost of living.
"Kaplan's decision to award additional money in lieu of the pandemic pay that our members were unjustly excluded from by the Ford government in 2020 is certainly a long-overdue win for our members, but the amounts awarded are still less than what our colleagues received at that time," says Sara Labelle, HPD Chair.
"The fact remains that there is a systemic problem in our hospital system – hospital professionals are expected to accept being underpaid in comparison to their counterparts in other health sectors and the private system. The crisis in our hospitals will not be resolved while this problem continues," added Labelle.
Bill 124, which capped public sector worker wage increases by 1% for three years, was struck down in November 2022 by the Ontario Superior Court.
The Ford government is appealing the decision.