Andrea Horwath’s NDP will use its Opposition Day Motion slot Monday to give the Doug Ford government another chance to give all Ontarians paid sick days to help end the pandemic sooner.
“Paid sick days will help Ontario beat COVID-19 quicker, and end the frustrating cycle of lockdowns,” said Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.
“Workers without paid sick days are the heroes we have relied on during this awful pandemic. They have cared for our parents and grandparents, cleaned buildings, made meals, and bagged groceries. Right now, those people are forced to choose between going to work sick or taking a pay cut. So many of them simply can’t afford to miss a shift if they’re going to keep the rent paid and prevent the cupboards from going bare.”
The NDP has been proposing paid sick days for several years, and have proposed a bill and multiple motions since the pandemic began.
The province had two paid sick days — which the NDP believed to be horribly inadequate — but Doug Ford cut them both, leaving Ontarians with none.
An estimated 60 per cent of Ontarians do not have permanent paid sick days, and that number is much higher among low-income workers, in sectors like food services, hospitality and retail, and among racialized people.
The NDP’s motion will be moved by Andrea Horwath at roughly 1 p.m. Monday, and will be voted on by all parties following a debate. It reads as follows:
Whereas the Ford government cancelled the two guaranteed paid sick days available to workers shortly after being elected; and
Whereas almost 60% of workers do not have access to paid sick days, particularly those who work in many of the frontline essential services relied upon in the COVID-19 pandemic; and
Whereas many of these workers do not qualify for federal emergency sick leave programs and are forced to choose between taking unpaid time off or going into work while sick in order to pay the bills and put food on the table, and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit pays less than minimum wage to those who do qualify; and
Whereas workplace spread of COVID-19 has accounted for two-thirds of community outbreaks in some municipalities, largely in environments without access to paid sick leave; and
Whereas the Ford government’s own experts have publicly advocated for the implementation of paid sick days to better protect Ontarians, especially racialized workers and communities that are disproportionately and hardest hit by the pandemic; and
Whereas the Ford government continues to ignore the advice of its own Science Table, public health experts, municipal leaders and business and labour advocacy organizations that have identified paid sick days as an effective and necessary measure in the fight against community spread of COVID-19 and the emerging variants;
Therefore, the Legislative Assembly calls on the Ford government to immediately implement a provincially mandated paid sick leave program in accordance with the advice of Ontario’s boards of health and medical officers of health, Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), municipal councils, organized labour and business advocacy groups.
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