Campaign for immediate essential worker wage increase for Direct Support Staff

Direct Support Professionals are #EssentialToUs and deserve recognition of the tremendous responsibilities that they fulfill every day. Even more so during this pandemic. Please join us in urging Brian Pallister to value DSPs now and into the future for the heroes they are. 

The campaign launched on May 8th with a full page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Organizations across Manitoba shared images of DSPs working tirelessly everyday with which we created a campaign video. Song Credits – Alicia Keys – Good Job

Bill boards (see image below) have been placed throughout Manitoba (see schedule and location)

Look for this billboard in the following locations and date. 

Community Market




Portage La

Saskatchewan Ave West 185m East of 24 St SS Facing West




Highway 3 1.8km West of Highway 14 Junction SS Facing West




Pacific Ave 20m East of 3 St NS Facing West




Main St 40m South of Pittsburg Ave WS Facing North




Main St 35m South of Centre Ave WS Facing South



Flin Flon

Highway 10A 230m West of Highway 10 SS Facing East



Swan River

Main St 490m East of Valley Rd SS Facing East




Buchanan Rd 22m West of Jackson St SS Facing West




Highway 16 West 455m West of Highway 5 NS Facing East




Highway 9 60m South of Howard Ave ES Facing South




Brandt St 50m Noth of Main St Facing South



Thank you to all who have sponsored billboards — ED’s Network, Community Living Manitoba, Inclusion Selkirk.

Bus ads are also live in Winnipeg on 50 buses! Thanks to Northway Pharmacy and Ready Meds for sponsoring these ads.

Finally, our Global ad is live and will air for another week (total of two weeks). Here is a Schedule of when Global Ad Airs , so you can be sure to see it!

The original ad can be seen here:

We created a modified ad to acknowledge the inclusion of DSPs  in the Risk Recognition Program and it can be seen here:

On June 2nd, 2020, Abilities released a press release following the announcement by the Province government that DSPs would be included in the Risk Recognition Program. 

Background info:

Campaign Goal:

As we see many essential workers being compensated for their continued, selfless work during an unprecedented global pandemic, we continue to see Direct Support Workers who support people with intellectual disability treated poorly, reflecting our society and our governments overall view of people with intellectual disability. The goal of this campaign is to help stabilize and secure the fragile disability sector workforce by implementing a $5/hour wage supplement for all Direct Support Workers working through Covid-19, and time and a half pay for anyone caring for someone who is Covid-19 positive.


The campaign is led by Abilities Manitoba and is endorsed and supported by the Family Advocacy Network, People First of Manitoba, The Alliance of Direct Support Professionals of Manitoba, Inclusion Winnipeg, Barrier-Free Manitoba, Community Living Manitoba and Disability Matters Vote.

Thank you for your help! Together we CAN make a difference!

9 thoughts on “Campaign for immediate essential worker wage increase for Direct Support Staff

  1. Thank you for raising this concern. We also have to include that Direct service Providers for Community Living receive NO (zero) BENEFITS. We are classified as casual even though we have schedule hours- up to 70+hours every two weeks. And some have had these scheduled shifts for years- but listed as casual=no benefits. So many have no resources to offset their income if having to stay home.

  2. Direct Support Workers always seem to be forgotten when applauding essential workers. Government seems to forget who we are & the important work we do for the most vulnerable that require care.

  3. Direct service support workers are rarely acknowledged for the work they do. Not to minimize the bravery of cashiers, cleaning staff, transit workers etc…direct service support workers continue to provide services during political turmoil, inclement weather, and yes, during a pandemic without accolades and increased wages. Many direct service support workers are working mandated reduced hours and don’t qualify for CERB. If support workers stood down there would be chaos because direct service support workers are the backbone of many systems.

  4. Manitobans rely on the services of these ESSENTIAL frontline workers! They need support now, far more than many of the retail businesses that are operating now.

  5. Sir
    To encourage we the Direct support workers, we need to be recognized because we are the ones in fore front and taken all the risk to make sure that the vulnerable ones in our society gets the support which they needed. You candid consideration will be a big encouragement to us. Thanks

  6. Thank you for being thoughtful and bringing up our concern to the Government. We the Direct Support Workers are ESSENTIAL front line healthcare workers who provide ESSENTIAL services that most vulnerable Manitobans need 24/7 to thrive in this crucial time of a pandemic but we barely get any recognition for the services we provide. Some Direct Support Workers are casuals who do not hold any permanent position at a health care facility but they are working and providing essential services, putting their lives at risk, they do not get any benefit to offset their income incase they have to stay home. We take a huge risk everyday we go in to work to make sure that people we support are protected and well taken care of. Direct support workers require an increase in wage and It is time that the Government recognize the sacrifices we make each day we put our lives at risk for the sake of the most vulnerable in our society.

  7. Our front line staff deserve a wage increase. We do more than Healthcare AIDS. Not only do we doing all the personal care, we’re advocates, administer medications, bring the residents to all their appointments, get them included into the community through various hobbies, jobs or friendships. They depend on us to be their psychologist when they are going thru difficult times and we learn to help them thru their difficult behaviours. Our turn over in staff is extremely high as most staff go into Healthcare Aid as the wages are much higher. Without frontline workers, there would not be help for the vulnerable people. I enjoy the work and it’s challenges it brings but it also has been the most rewarding job. Please consider the wage increase so the vulnerable sector can have stable staff in their lives instead of hundreds of staff passing thru. Thank you

  8. With high wages staff will not moving from sector to sector looking for good pay for themselves, the people they support gets a stable staff in their life and that will save them the mental stress of trying to get use to a new staff, staffs are the vulnerable people’s Immediate family so stability in staff is important high wage is the the answer to these

  9. They deserve better pay, plus benefits. They are great workers. They support my son at a group home run by St. Amant. Wonderful, hard working people.

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