Housekeeping staff, healthcare aides, and other professionals in the second round of a wage support program on average are receiving more funds than the previous intake.

Manitoba's Families Minister Rochelle Squires says that over 20,000 Manitobans have been approved for a wage top-up. In a second round of the Caregiver Wage Support Program, the province distributed $19 million to front-line healthcare workers to give them a wage boost.

"I am pleased to announce that a total of more than $35 million has been distributed to support these exceptional Manitobans, who continue to provide care to those in need on the front lines of this pandemic," the minister says.

The second intake of the $5/hour wage top-up gave each recipient an average of $940. The previous intake gave an average of over $850.

“COVID-19 has altered the lives of all Manitobans, but especially those of our front-line workers,” Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson says. “Throughout this ongoing pandemic, they continue to care for their fellow Manitobans day in and day out, with expertise and resolve.”

The program, first announced in December, is aimed to pad wages for low-income and middle-income frontline workers during the pandemic. The boost is given directly to approved applicants.

Of the $35 million, $18 million was supplied by the province and $17 million from the federal government. Eligible staff includes health-care aides, direct service workers, recreation workers, and housekeeping staff as well as other frontline caregiving roles.