paid sick days

Ontario workers are demanding many more paid sick days from the province

After sustained pressure from the public, unions and political opposition, Doug Ford's Ontario PC government finally introduced paid sick days for essential workers in the pandemic this past spring.

Even though it was an improvement over zero paid sick days offered by the province, the April announcement that it will offer $200 per day for three days to eligible full- and part-time employees has been criticized as not enough, especially in response to a virus with a two-week quarantine period.

The federal government already provides a benefit for those unable to work due to COVID-19, but the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is among the voices pressuring the PCs to do more to cover workers in the notoriously expensive province.

In a new call for action, the OFL is citing polling data showing 80 per cent of respondents supporting ten permanent, employer-paid sick days and 85 per cent agreeing businesses have a responsibility to provide paid sick days.

"It is far past time for Ford's Conservative government to finally do the right thing and introduce permanent, adequate, employer-paid sick leave, and Ontarians overwhelmingly agree," said OFL President Patty Coates.

Coates stresses that with the pandemic showing no signs of going away, current measures like the Worker Income Protection Benefit aren't going to cut it, saying, "while Ontarians face the rise of a new COVID-19 variant and flu season, we urgently need this common-sense health measure to keep ourselves and our communities safe."

Taking clear aim at the premier, Coates claims that "Doug Ford is completely out of touch with Ontario workers, and this poll proves it."

Stating that Ford's government has already voted against paid sick days on 27 occasions, Coates warns that "If Ford won't vote for 10 days of permanent, employer-paid sick leave, then we'll vote for it ourselves in the next election."

Most recently, Ford's PCs voted down Bill 8, the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, 2021, which would have legislated the ten permanent sick days the OFL is calling for, in addition to two full weeks of paid sick days in the event of public health outbreaks.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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