paid sick days ontario

Doug Ford finally approves paid sick days for workers in Ontario

The Government of Ontario has at long last come up with a program for paid sick days after mounting pressure from the public while we wade through the taxing third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's a topic that has been on the minds of many for months as the province continues to see high daily new case counts and ICU occupancy rates despite being nearly one month into a full emergency shutdown, worrying health officials and citizens alike.

Premier Doug Ford, who has been vocally against the idea in light of the fact that the federal government already provides a benefit for those unable to work due to COVID-19, was instead intent on providing funding to double the amount offered by Ottawa's program.

Trudeau was ambivalent about the concept and instead suggested that Ford's team come up with their own subsidy or order employers to compensate workers accordingly, as federally-regulated businesses must.

And so came the announcement of the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit on Wednesday afternoon.

According to Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, the program will provide $200 per day for three days to eligible employees, both full- and part-time, who can use it if they or a loved one comes down with the virus, or if they need to take time off for their mental health.

It can also be used for things like having to leave work to get tested for or vaccinated against the communicable disease.

This is a complement, but pales in comparison, to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), which offers $500 per week for up to four weeks to qualifying individuals — but, Ford has indeed also vowed to top up the CRSB to the proposed $1,000 per week total.

And, like the CRSB, the Ontario Worker Benefit will run until Sept. 25. It is also retroactive back to April 19.

Though it's certainly a move in the right direction and is better than nothing, many are pointing out that the self-isolation period for someone with the virus is typically 10-14 days, not just three.

Lead photo by

Dafne Muñoz

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