Ontarians are urging the Ford government to take action to legislate paid sick days for all workers.
Health experts have joined the call for paid sick days, noting they would reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
The provincial NDP has been at the forefront in the fight for sick days, advocating the passage of Bill 239 (also known as the Stay Home if You are Sick Act). The NDP bill would have guaranteed 10 personal emergency days for workers, including seven paid days. In addition, it would allow 14 days of paid leave during a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, Premier Doug Ford continues to be against paid sick days.
“It's shameful but not surprising that the Ford government is ignoring and disregarding the pleas for paid sick days from frontline workers," said President Wayne Hanley. "Paid sick days will save lives particularly during a pandemic and this government's inaction puts workers' lives at risk."
The labour movement has continuously advocated for paid sick days at the bargaining table but employers have dragged their feet on this matter.
Rechev Browne, a steward at a No Frills in Toronto, appealed to Premier Ford and his government to open up their hearts to the struggles of frontline workers.
“Having 10 paid sick days would be amazing and make a huge difference to workers,” said Browne, a frontline worker. “Doug Ford, I am asking your government to please enact and Bill 239 for paid sick days for workers in this province. It means so much for us, it means our continued survival, it means us being able to stay at home if we feel sick, not go into the public and cause the spread even more. Please open up your heart and listen to what the people are saying.”
Josie Barberi, a steward at Loblaws Great Food, echoed the call, noting that Ford has stripped away two paid emergency leave days that was introduced under the former Liberal government.
"It’s important that government and politicians to make sick days at the front of the agenda,” said Barberi. We already had these days before you removed them.”
To the politicians, Barberi said: "We are relying on you to keep us safe and to know that you have our best interests at heart.”
Paid sick days save lives.
Join the campaign for paid sick days for all workers by sharing the link and participating in the campaign: https://www.decentworkandhealth.org/paidsickdays