Ontario Needs Paid Sick Days

March 15, 2021

Northumberland Labour Council is calling on the provincial government to provide at least seven paid sick days per year to all workers and during a public health crises fourteen paid sick days.

Northumberland Labour Council President Dan Tobin is concerned that Doug Ford and other Conservative MPPs are arguing that paid sick days are a prohibitive expense, claiming that now is not the time to tack on additional expenses to small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Ontario conservative government continues its refusal to acknowledge health experts’ advice regarding the issue of paid sick time. Experts continue to report that outbreaks in long-term care facilities have been particularly caused by staff working while sick, and that existing policies aren’t enough.

Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Barbara Yaffe, reported last month that their “experience has been that outbreaks in long-term care tend to be introduced by workers.”

In addition, Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative MPP’s are also arguing that people do not need Paid Sick Days, that they can use CRSB if they are sick. Several problems arise when CRSB requires one to apply after they are sick, CRSB is NOT available if a person misses less than 50% of their work week, CRSB is only temporary, and only restricted to COVID-19.

The Northumberland Labour Council and health experts are not the only ones concerned about the lack of paid sick days. A group of Toronto and Hamilton-area mayors have called on Ontario to take action on sick pay and to introduce further provincial support.

As to the cost to businesses, we have to ask what is the cost of doing nothing? Employees who are low-wage earners or are precariously employed are going into work sick; thus, spreading illness. Without paid sick days, these employees have no other choice but to work. Taking a day off without pay can have serious repercussions for many. All of this is happening today and it’s happening here in Northumberland County.

Dan Tobin states: “3.9 million Ontarians do not have access to any paid sick leave, and most of those people are front-line, low-wage or otherwise marginalized or vulnerable workers.” These vulnerable people who are disproportionately impacted by a lack of paid sick days would be minimum wage earners, other low-income earners, and single parents.

In addition to limiting the spread of disease, paid sick days will lead to reducing employee turn-over, better job security, boosting morale, and raising worker productivity.

Northumberland Labour Council is encouraging those who support paid sick days to contact their MPP and to demand that “vulnerable front-line workers are taken care of now and into the future.”

Sincerely,

Dan Tobin
President
Northumberland Labour Council

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