NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, by immediately introducing and passing an emergency bill to ensure employees can stay home from work when they’re sick.
Horwath is asking the provincial government to take two specific measures: prevent employers from requiring people to go to a doctor’s office to get a sick note, and make sure employees have access to paid sick days in order to avoid spreading any illness or virus they’ve contracted, and to self-quarantine if they have any symptoms.
“Our thoughts are with patients who have contracted the virus, as well as the front-line health care workers and public health workers who are doing incredible work, and likely have difficult days and nights ahead, still,” said Horwath. “The way to stop the spread of the coronavirus is to make sure anyone who might have been exposed can stay home, to avoid spreading it. There are serious concerns about Ontarians who can’t afford to take a day off work if they’re showing symptoms, and, today, workers can be forced to go to a doctor’s office to get a sick note – potentially spreading whatever virus they may have.
“While the risk to Ontarians of contracting coronavirus remains very low, we should recognize this potential transmission risk and mitigate it now.”
Horwath said the NDP would provide unanimous consent so that the provincial government could pass an emergency bill doing just that the same day.
The NDP has long supported at least five paid sick and personal emergency leave days for workers. The Ford government cancelled the two that were guaranteed to workers.
“Our public health units and front-line health care workers have done an incredible job protecting us all, and we’re in excellent hands,” said Horwath. “The NDP is simply asking the government to take a reasonable, preventative step to make sure the novel coronavirus stays as contained as it is today.”
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