After months of resisting, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has finally agreed to implement a form of paid sick leave for vulnerable workers. The announcement left little details about the program and timeline but reiterated that it will be a program “like no other.”
“We’re going to have the best program in North America, bar none” said Ford today in a press conference.
The Sudbury Workers Education & Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) welcomes the premier’s commitment to introduce a paid sick leave program in the province. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) has left significant gaps in the way that it supports workers.
A paid sick day leave program must meet several basic tenets. Paid sick days must be employer provided and accessible, have 7 permanent paid sick days and 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
An accessible program will also prohibit employers from requiring sick notes and ensure that emergency leave covers personal sickness, injury, or emergence, as well as family emergencies and responsibilities.
Without universal and accessible paid sick days, Ontarian’s will be left in a difficult and precarious employment situation. Women, migrants, racialized workers, and workers with disabilities are among those who are most at risk.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exposed a gap exists employment standards legislation across the country. Research has shown that over half of workers in Canada have no paid sick day’s 74 percent of workers earning under $25,000/year report having no access to sick leave benefits.
We encourage you to contact Premier Ford, Labour Minister Monty McNaughton, and Health Minister Christine Elliot to demand universal and accessible paid sick days for all. The premier’s inaction has had a devastating effect on Ontario workers. We’re calling on Doug Ford and the Ontario Legislature to implement a universal and accessible paid sick leave program.
Premier Ford has committed to making the best paid sick leave program in North America, let’s hold him to that.
Sign the petition on the Decent Work & Health Network and let our elected officials know that workers need 7 permanent paid sick days and an additional 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies.