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

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read