Health Care

Ontario to introduce paid COVID-19 leave

Ontario to introduce paid COVID-19 leave”

The answers: politics, and politics.

Over a year into the global pandemic, the provincial government will introduce legislation that would mandate three paid sick days for Ontario workers and double the payments for the federal work program.

Critics of the federal program say there are too many barriers and note that applicants have to wait days for their application to be approved before they receive any money.

Bethlenfalvy said Tuesday that Ontario would give the federal government funding to double its existing benefit if Ottawa would administer the topped-up payment to workers in the province.

Provincial paid sick leave generally forces companies and employers to offer paid time off if a worker is sick for any reason. As a registered charity, TVO depends on people like you to support original, in-depth reporting that matters.

That same day, however, Ontario's finance minister wrote Ottawa to ask for their co-operation to top up the federal measure.

The Ford government eliminated a paid sick days program introduced by the previous provincial Liberal government in one of its first acts after taking office in 2018.

More news: 5 things to know about COVID-19 variants

Constitutionally, provinces are responsible for employment laws like paid sick leave, however, Ontario and British Columbia had been calling for changes to the federal benefit.

Ontario will pay up to $200 each day for three days each week.

That's three days - the same number of days Labour Minister Monte McNaughton proposes to grant Ontario workers until September 25, when the CRSB is slated to expire.

Contingent on approval by the feds, this will raise the federal paid sick day program to $1,000 a week for four weeks. "And if a grocery store clerk needs to take time off to get vaccinated, they can get paid while doing so", McNaughton said during a news conference at Queen's Park on Wednesday. This is one of those times when it's nearly more charitable to assume that a politician is lying, because McNaughton's statement is absolutely damning of this government if it's true. 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.

"Real-world evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic and from influenza-like illnesses indicates that paid sick leave can support workers in following public health measures, reduce viral transmission and workplace outbreaks, promote higher vaccination rates among essential workers, increase work productivity, and reduce worker absenteeism".

"By providing time-limited access to three paid leave days, the province is ensuring employees can pay their bills as they help stop the spread of the virus, including by getting tested, waiting for their results in isolation or going to get their vaccine", stated a news release from the Labour Ministry.

Some people argue that, while they're happy for their tax dollars to support local and independent businesses that otherwise couldn't afford sick pay, they're not entirely on board with bankrolling sick leave at somewhere like Costco.



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