The Pas Local News

MLA Amanda Lathlin

On December 3, session came to an end meaning that the Legislative Assembly will be on break until March. However, Members of the Legislative Assembly will continue to work remotely from home within our constituencies.

 

My office has been receiving a lot of calls about the provincial and federal joint wage top-up program that provides some healthcare workers with an additional $5 an hour. In particular, many workers have been calling asking why they don’t qualify for this program, while others do.

 

For example, home care workers do not qualify, but workers in Long Term Care homes do. Home care workers do similar work and are at similar risk of COVID exposure as well as they go directly into people’s homes, not knowing who their patients have previously been in contact with.

 

Many other workers don’t qualify such as healthcare aides, housekeeping staff, dietary staff and more. This government drew an arbitrary line between who qualifies and who doesn’t when they introduced this program. This creates unnecessary division between workers.

 

In reality, many workers put their health and lives at risk every day doing their job, often for very little pay. These workers deserve financial recognition for the work that they do and that’s why several of my NDP colleagues and CUPE Local 204 President Debbie Boissoneault recently held a press conference calling on the government to expand the program so that none of these workers are left behind. I would like to thank my constituents who’ve called and I want to tell them that their voices did not fall on deaf ears.

 

The Pallister government also recently announced that grade 7-12 students would enter a two-week mandatory remote learning period after the winter break, whereas grade K-6 students would have the option to do in-person or remote learning. The rationale behind this decision is to allow for an ‘incubation period’ after the holidays, as they are expecting COVID numbers to increase as people gather for Christmas, despite restrictions in place to only socialize within your household.

 

However, internet access and laptops/computers are not readily available to all students, making remote learning impossible for many. As well, teachers will have to manage an even greater workload, especially K-6 teachers who may have to teach in-person and online. We are asking too much of our teachers and students if the government doesn’t provide them with additional supports such as hiring more teachers, or providing students with the needed technology.

 

I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season! Please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns over the holidays to  Amanda.lathlin@yourmanitoba.ca or call (204) 623-2034. Kinanaskomitin

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