Forced to Choose: Ontario Homecare Workers Struggling Amid Rising Gas Prices
Nearly half of those polled in a recent CLAC survey said they are considering leaving their current position
Mississauga, ON—In a recent survey of personal support workers (PSWs) in the Durham Region, nearly half of respondents reported that they are either considering leaving their current role or are actively looking for employment elsewhere. An underlying factor is the skyrocketing cost of gas: 96 percent of those polled felt they are not being adequately reimbursed for the mileage they clock travelling to and from their clients’ homes.
The results of the survey, which was conducted by CLAC between April 20 and May 4, 2022, illustrate the immediate need for funding to relieve those working in Ontario’s homecare sector of the burden of the rising cost of gas.
Currently, the Canada Revenue Agency provides a maximum allowable rate of 61₵ per kilometre, while most homecare agencies in Ontario pay between 38₵ and 45₵ per kilometre. When paired with the skyrocketing cost of gas, workers in this sector are forced to make a painful decision: either fill your tank so that you can visit clients or look for employment in another industry.
Other highlights of the survey include
- 75 percent of those considering leaving their current role or who are actively pursuing other work plan on leaving the homecare sector altogether,
- 60 percent spend $75 to upward of $100 on gas each week travelling between clients’ homes, and
- 43 percent drive more than 100 kilometres each week in their duties as a PSW.
In a letter to Ontario MPPs, CLAC has urged politicians to provide homecare employers with emergency funding to bridge the gap between what is currently offered to workers for mileage reimbursement and what they can claim through the CRA.
“It is not hyperbolic to suggest that skyrocketing gas prices are causing these workers to lose money, especially in Ontario, where the government has yet to provide relief at the pumps,” said Kevin Gates, CLAC representative, in the letter. “If urgent action is not taken, we believe that the current staffing crisis in homecare will be made exponentially worse.”
CLAC is calling on Ontario MPPs to meet with PSWs in their riding to discuss how low wages and gas prices are affecting their careers.