Government Announces Risk Recognition Program for Some Essential Workers
Jun 02, 2020
The Pallister government has announced its Risk Recognition Payment Program (aka pandemic pay or wage top-up). The government says the program “will provide a one-time, income-tested payment to eligible low-income front-line workers, with consideration given to the added risk due to COVID-19 and interaction with the public including clients, patients and inmates.” The federal government is providing 75% of the funding for this program; the remainder is funded by the province.
“Along with fourteen other labour, business, and community organizations, the MGEU was part of the government’s consultation process and we took the position that as many workers as possible who have worked through the pandemic should be eligible,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “We made it clear that the program should not have an income cut-off because that would exclude so many who’ve been working hard on the frontlines and behind the scenes throughout this COVID crisis.” In the end, however, no consensus was reached and the government chose an option that will distribute $120 million in one-time payments to lower-income essential workers.
“We are disappointed the program is not more far-reaching,” Gawronsky said. “But we will certainly be encouraging all MGEU members who may be eligible — including many government community workers, home care attendants, Liquor Mart clerks, health care aides, and staff at community agencies who provide social services to at-risk youth and families — to apply.”
No matter who receives the payments, however, such programs are no substitute for fair collective bargaining, she added.
“Most public workers who have been on-the-job through the pandemic are working under expired contracts. What we really need is for the Pallister government to show respect for public workers by getting to the bargaining table and dealing fairly with those who provide our services.”
More about the Risk Recognition Program
- The government has estimated that each worker eligible for the program will receive a one-time payment of $1,167.
- The program will be application-based. Workers will need to apply online.
- Workers who received the CERB will not be eligible.
- To be eligible, workers need to have worked at least 200 hours between March 20 – May 29, 2020.
- To be eligible, workers need to have earned less than $6,250 in gross income between March 20 – May 29, 2020.
- The full list of eligible positions and organizations is available on the Manitoba government website.
applications will be accepted starting Wednesday, June 3. The
application deadline is June 18 and the province will issue payments via
direct deposit once it