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.
Someone was finally able to explain that an ICU bed cost more than paid sick days for minimum wage workers ?— shauna h (@shaunah81) April 21, 2021
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.
They know that they could just un-cancel the Liberal plan, right?— T.O. Resident (@TO_Resident) April 21, 2021
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 www.canada.ca/covid19... 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."
This is infuriating. There are no gaps when permanent paid sick days for all doesn’t even exist. Make the companies pay for sick leave. It’s the “new” reality of doing business in Ontario. Sorry corporate donors.— Ontario Mom/Teacher (@OntarioMomTeac1) April 21, 2021
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.
The leader of Ontario who staunchly opposed paid sick leave for those exposed to/showing symptoms of Covid is now on paid sick leave for being exposed to Covid. Now suddenly paid sick leave has been kickstarted. How fucking ironic.— ProphTart, Margrave of the House of Calories (@ProphTart) April 21, 2021
Many are noticing how interesting the timing is given that Ford himself is currently in isolation due to a workplace COVID-19 exposure.
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