Ontario Needs Paid Sick Days

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

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."

Dan Tobin
Northumberland Labour Council