Empire Co. Ltd. will award staff additional bonus pay in parts of Ontario affected by upcoming lockdowns in the province, a company spokesperson said.  

The "lockdown bonus" revisits a similar offering given to workers at major Canadian grocery store chains during the implementation of pandemic restrictions in March, where staff received hourly wage increases or other COVID-19 pay premiums. The pay premiums were later rescinded in June as provincial pandemic-instigated lockdowns eased across the country.

"We are implementing this temporary lockdown period to recognize our teammates in Peel and Toronto for their continued commitment to serve our customers," said Jacquelin Weatherbee, Empire's vice president of communications and corporate affairs, in an email. 

"We fundamentally believe this is the right thing to do. The lockdown bonus is a temporary program that will reward our teammates for the amount of time they work during the lockdown period. The more a teammate works during the government mandated lockdown, the more they earn."

Weatherbee said the lockdown bonus will begin for all workers Monday and will run for the entire government mandated lockdown period, or until a time that the company deems appropriate. 

Representatives from Loblaw Inc., Metro Inc., as well as Walmart Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp.'s Canadian divisions were not immediately available for comment when asked if they would provide similar pandemic pay premiums to their staff.