Risk payments on way for 78,442 front-line pandemic workers in Manitoba

By | July 29, 2020

Manitoba is issuing payments to 78,442 people as part of the $120-million Risk Recognition Program that acknowledges front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province will divide the program’s $120 million equally among all eligible recipients for individual payments of $1,377 — the total left over from $1,530 after 10 per cent is remitted under federal tax rules.

Premier Brian Pallister announced the payouts on Wednesday, a few weeks after the application for eligibility closed in June. Many people had been wondering why they hadn’t received their so-called hero pay yet.

“We want to thank front-line workers and acknowledge the sacrifices they made during the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased risks they faced on the job to provide crucial services,” Pallister said.

“We also appreciate Manitobans’ patience as we reviewed every application we received in order to determine final payment amounts.”

More than 90,000 had originally applied and the province had to sift through them all to be sure of eligibility, he said.

“It’s important to get it right and to make sure you’re not sending out cheques and then asking for them back.”

Eligible positions included health care, social services, justice, security, transportation, food and beverage, hotels and essential retail. Payment recipients include 37,060 public-facing essential roles in retail services and lodging, 27,085 in health care, 9,325 in social services and 3,440 in transportation.

The province based eligibility criteria on recommendations it received during extensive consultations with business and union representatives.

“Many working Manitobans were exposed to on-the-job risks they’d never experienced prior to the pandemic, and we can’t thank them enough for the roles they played in supporting all Manitobans through this difficult time,” said Pallister, who said he hopes recipients spend some of their money to support the local economy.

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