Health Minister Adrian Dix is joined by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as they look on as Premier John Horgan discusses reopening the province’s economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Health Minister Adrian Dix is joined by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as they look on as Premier John Horgan discusses reopening the province’s economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

80,000 health-care workers who have yet to get pandemic pay will receive it, Dix says

The B.C. government did start paying the COVID-19 top up to some employees in October

More than 80,000 frontline workers have yet to receive their promised pandemic pay from the B.C. government, but Health Minister Adrian Dix has pledged those eligible will have the funds in their bank accounts soon.

The specialized pay was announced during the height of COVID-19 earlier this year, with an estimated 250,000 workers eligible for the one-time lump-sum payment of an extra $4 per hour over a 16-week period from March 15 to July 4.

“I can assure them that they will get the pay that they are promised,” Dix said during a news conference Monday (Dec. 14), adding that the process has been “quite complicated,” but feels that despite the efforts by the finance ministry it has taken too long.

“I agree. It has taken too long and we all accept that,” Dix said. “People are working through it very diligently but everyone who is eligible for pandemic pay will receive it without question.”

The B.C. government did start paying the COVID-19 top up to some employees in October. Employers had until Oct. 31 to submit necessary paperwork to be part of the pandemic pay program.

READ MORE: Premier’s office ‘confident’ temporary pandemic pay coming in October

Danielle Hurch has been left wondering where her money is that was promised to her months ago by the B.C. government.

Hurch (name changed to protect her privacy) has been working at Glacier View Lodge, a public complex care facility in Courtenay for the past five years.

“It was supposed to be paid out … and nothing is getting done. It’s really upsetting. Everyone (at the lodge) is feeling like what is going on?”

She said friends who work in healthcare at other facilities across the province have received their pay and noted employees are frustrated at the discrepancies between facilities.

“It’s not fair; people are quitting and people are scared to say anything or ask – it’s something we should have had two months ago.”

According to the government, once a claim has been validated, it will be sent to the Ministry of Finance for payment which typically takes seven to 10 business days.

Anne Judson, board chair at GVL confirmed the facility submitted its claim in early October and is currently waiting for their funds from the province. She said the total claim for the lodge in excess of $100,000 and they are not in a position to forward funds to their employees before receiving provincial money.

“We’re too small of an organization … it’s really unfortunate that (other facilities) chose to pay out in advance, but smaller organizations like us are not in a position to pay in advance of receiving the money from the Ministry of Health.”

A representative from the Ministry of Finance told Black Press Media employees who have not yet received their additional pay are understandably frustrated and that the ministry apologizes for the delays.

She noted since the submission deadline, approximately 134,000 eligible employees have received a total of almost $211 million, and that delays are largely due to “administrative complexities associated with distributing a new program to more than 250,000 employees working for hundreds of different employers.

“Despite the challenges of distributing a new program to employees, it should not have taken this long. A cross-government group has been created to streamline the process and we are increasing resources to clear the bottleneck,” she explained.

The ministry anticipates nearly all of the remaining claims will be processed by the end of January.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dyllan Petrin is charged related to an ongoing investigation in Surrey involving a kidnapping and assault that occurred in July, 2019. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Man arrested in connection to kidnapping, murder investigations: Surrey RCMP

Police say Dyllan Petrin was arrested in Vancouver

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey chief constable says ‘comprehensive’ public engagement to be done this year

Norm Lipinski says Surrey Police Service has ‘good momentum’

Surrey-raised forward Jujhar Khaira in action with Edmonton Oilers. (Photo: nhl.com)
Q&A: Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira credits parents for their hard work on his path to NHL

Port Kells-raised player talks about his journey to pro hockey with Edmonton Oilers

The interventional oncology team at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested in innovative technologies to kickstart a new Interventional Oncology service at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Submitted photo: Yvonne Chiang)
Surrey Memorial home to machines for ‘minimally invasive’ cancerous tumours treatments

Technology can freeze, burn tumours without need for surgery

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Snow is forecasted to appear in parts of Metro Vancouver this weekend. (Black Press Media files)
Snow forecasted for parts of Lower Mainland this weekend

Environment Canada is predicting flurries and snow from Saturday to Monday evening

Most Read