Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


Ontario to introduce paid COVID-19 leave

By Canadian Press	
	 		Nova Scotia under lockdown while Ontario takes steps to relieve strained hospitals By Canadian Press Nova Scotia under lockdown while Ontario takes steps to relieve strained hospitals
Melba Vasquez | 29 April, 2021, 15:52

Ontario will give all workers three paid sick days to help employees take time off to self-isolate during the pandemic.

"Our government has long advocated for the federal government to enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers", said Labour Minister Monte McNaughton.

Through the program, the employer would pay for the sick days and be reimbursed by the provincial government.

The program will be created through a new bill the government was to introduce today, which still must be passed by the legislature.

The province has also offered to provide funding to the federal government to double Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit payments to Ontario residents, adding an additional $500 per week to eligible individuals for a total of $1,000 per week.

Cronk is calling for 10 days' sick leave every year, to be paid by employers who would get a 75 per cent wage subsidy if they can show they endured financial hardship due to the pandemic.

"When Ontario is ready to mandate sick leave in provincially regulated businesses, as we have done for federally regulated businesses, we will be there to help", Freeland's spokesperson told reporters on Monday.

If the arrangement can be made, he said, Ontario workers would have the most generous paid pandemic leave in the country. "If workers need to take a mental health day related to COVID-19, if your mom or a dad who has a son or a daughter who has symptoms and isn't feeling well, you can stay home", said McNaughton.

The province is partnering with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to deliver the program and reimburse employers. "The government of Canada and Ontario have done a historic job delivering the Safe Restart Agreement past year".

"Ontario's child care workers are making a difference and supporting working parents at this critical time", Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, said in a news release.

Only two provinces have paid sick leave.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it's clear the federal government had "rebuffed" the province's request.

Three days may be enough to get tested or get a vaccine, but for those who are actually sick with the virus and must quarantine for 14 days, the benefit falls woefully short.

"We're not at the time where we can just throw paid sick days out at random".

Public health experts, labour groups, and local officials have been unrelenting in their calls for sick leave support, arguing it would greatly reduce COVID-19 spread in workplaces and at home.

"That's not going to stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces and it's not going to stop the deaths", she said.

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