Nova Scotia to provide cash bonus for front-line health-care workers

The majority of health-care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis did not initially qualify for the federal top-up program, according to the government of Nova Scotia, until now.

Thursday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the program, with Nova Scotia signing on to provide health-care workers supporting the COVID-19 response with a bonus of up to $2,000.

“Front-line health-care providers are working flat-out to keep Nova Scotians safe and healthy during this unprecedented time, sometimes putting their own lives at risk,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release.

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According to the province, the Essential Health Care Workers Program will see health-care workers receiving the bonus after a four-month period which began March 13.

The program includes eligible employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and in long-term care, home care and in-home support and emergency health services, said the province.

Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive the benefit.

The program is expected to benefit up to 43,000 health-care workers in the province and would apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers as well as cleaning staff.

“Those who work during the four months but are placed on isolation, quarantine or COVID-19 sick leave are also eligible,” stated the province.

The provincial government said it will contribute $13.4 million, with the federal government contribution being $80.5 million for the program.

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