Ontario offers three days of paid sick leave for COVID-19
Apr 29 2021
If a worker must isolate for longer than 50 percent of the time, they would have otherwise worked for the week because of a positive COVID-19 test or risk of exposure, the worker may apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit if they haven't taken a paid leave day under this proposal.
Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced the measure today after months of intense pressure from experts and advocates who've said sick leave would help reduce workplace outbreaks.
If the legislation is passed, the program would be administered by the Workers Safety Insurance Board.
He says the program - which will be administered through the Workplace Insurance and Safety Board - will be retroactive to April 19 and will end on September 25.
"Provinces need to work on a way to deliver sick leave directly through employers, which the federal government can't do", he said.
The Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit would double the funding through the federal program, the Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit, to $1,000 a week for four weeks. "Now we can fix the outstanding gap in the federal program so workers can get immediate support and can stay home when needed".
"We are prepared to make this commitment immediately, and the province will pay the full cost of the additional top-up", the letter obtained by Daily Hive said. I'm not a federal-politics reporter, but it seems pretty clear from recent events that three days was the price federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland demanded in order for Ottawa to accede to Ontario's requested CRSB improvements.
"This will help those workers who have to stay home and self-isolate if they are sick", the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP said. Paid sick leave was never going to be a silver bullet, but this meaningfully pushes the dial in the right direction.
This latest measure builds on other existing provincial supports like job-protected leave and access to isolation facilities, making Ontario's approach the most comprehensive COVID-19 sick leave in the country. The leave would be available to employees who are covered by the Employment Standards Act and do not already have paid sick leave through their employer. Almost 8,000 Ontarians have died of COVID-19, and introducing paid sick leave now - after the crest of the third wave, if we're lucky - means that, if McNaughton's statement is true, some fraction of those thousands of dead might have been saved but were not.
Experts warned that without proper paid sick days, community transmission of COVID-19 would remain high in Ontario due to the prevalence of outbreaks at essential workplaces.
The federal program Ford is trying to supplement provides workers with $450 a week after tax.
She said the Ford government's plan is far from the best program in North America, a claim Premier Doug Ford made last week before announcing any details of his program. "And that the payments actually run through employers, and the worker doesn't have to apply", Dr. Peter Juni said in an interview with CP24 Wednesday evening.
"They came forward today with a back of the envelope kind of solution that is really not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our workplaces".