paid sick days ontario

It looks like Ontario may finally be introducing paid sick days

Guaranteed paid sick days funded by the provincial government are among the things that residents of Ontario have been vehemently calling for as COVID-19 case counts remain high despite the full emergency shutdown we're currently enduring more than one year into the pandemic.

It seems that Premier Doug Ford and his team, previously opponents of the idea, have changed their tune following immense pressure from the public and a lack of realistic options to try and further curb infection rates.

The measure is something that the province's own COVID-19 Science Advisory Table recommended earlier this week — especially for essential workers — along with ramping up the vaccination rollout, which is something Canada in general is lagging embarassingly far behind in compared to other nations.

The U.S., which Canadians at one point ridiculed for their rampant virus spread, earlier this month issued a level 4 advisory for travel to Canada due to a "very high level of COVID-19" in the country as they continue to vaccinate their population far more efficiently.

As far as paid sick leave is concerned, Ford has consistently pointed to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) that currently offers $500 per week for up to four weeks to any worker who has to stay home due to COVID-19 illness.

"My message to the opposition and everyone else, because there are a lot of people that are playing politics right now... there's paid sick leave from the federal government," Ford said in a media briefing on April 7.

"To get paid sick days, go online to so to everyone that's preaching about the sick days, rather than do that, why don't you try to help someone by telling them where they can go."

Trudeau reiterated in a presser the day prior that the CSRB is meant to "ensure that anyone who comes down with a sniffle or symptoms or has to self-isolate is able to stay home and not have to worry about being able to pay the rent or put food on the table."

But some have argued that the federal program has some barriers that prevent many essential workers from accessing it, leading to more people going to work while potentially carrying COVID.

As such, the provincial government is now mulling over its own version of paid sick days, which will address gaps in the federal program and will apparently be announced in the coming days.

Many are noticing how interesting the timing is given that Ford himself is currently in isolation due to a workplace COVID-19 exposure.

Lead photo by

Brian Lundquist/Unsplash

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