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

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ district administration centre. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district gets started on new budget amid unknowns

Ministry’s per-student funding increase doesn’t fully cover pay raises for teachers and support staff

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo school district reports COVID-19 case at Fairview Elementary

April 9 exposure the fourth case reported in SD68 since spring break

The old career resource centre, formerly Quennell School, was demolished last week. (Photo courtesy Erik Warners)
Old career centre and school demolished in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

School district says building was decaying and was unsuitable for use

Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s two new pumper trucks, slated to be delivered in the fall, will have battery-powered idle-reduction technology. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo’s newest fire trucks will come with idle-reduction technology

Pumper trucks arriving from U.S.-based manufacturer will use battery power to save fuel

A raccoon prowls near a porch in north Nanaimo last fall. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Attack on dog shows raccoons can be nasty creatures

We had to take our black lab to the emergency vet for treatment, says letter writer

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

AstraZeneca vaccine is becoming available at B.C. pharmacies outside the Lower Mainland, as of Friday, April 9. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Immunization program expands to five Nanaimo pharmacies

Residents 55-65-year-old can get their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Firefighters, including those from Cranberry volunteer department, are battling a blaze in the Nanaimo River Road area. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Dwelling destroyed, two taken to hospital after Nanaimo River Road blaze

Firefighers arrived to find dwelling and garage fully engulfed in flame at property south of Nanaimo

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

Most Read