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

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP was called to a report of a fight at an Okanagan Landing Halloween party Saturday, Oct. 31, but issued the homeowner a ticket  under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for having too many people at the party. (Black Press file photo)
Police investigating after woman dragged, run over by truck in Jimsmith area

A woman sustained severe injuries after being allegedly pushed out a truck,… Continue reading

letter
LETTERS: Travel to Kimberley

A second home owner appreciates Mayor’s comments; a resident doesn’t agree

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read