It’s two years after the pandemic began and Ontario only has three temporary paid sick days for COVID-19 related illness only. The Ontario government opened the Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB) on April 28, 2021 and extended it until July 31, 2022 – but they did not bother to increase the number of paid days offered even since Omicron began.
In their recent Toronto Star op-ed, Deena Ladd, Executive Director of the Workers’ Action Centre and Dr. Gaibrie Stephen of the Decent Work and Health Networker wrote, “Together, we have repeatedly outlined principles for effective paid sick leave policy: permanent, adequate, universal, employer-paid, and seamlessly accessible” . They reveal that the Ford government paid over $22 million to a company to administer the inadequate WIPB instead of making ten permanent and effective paid sick days possible. Our government is doing the least it can for workers while keeping the coffers open for big business.
The Federal government promised to bring in ten permanent paid sick days within 100 days of re-election and meet with the provinces to convince them to do the same. But Trudeau’s government has left federally regulated workers waiting, which sets a poor example for Ontario. Please email your MP for ten paid sick days now and to support an effective paid sick leave policy in the provinces.
Building our Movement!
Ontario’s Ford government keeps failing us by weakening our rights during the pandemic and not putting in place the vital protections needed for essential workers. Yet they keep claiming that they are “working for workers.” Clearly, we must rely on each other to do the real work of fighting for justice on the job!
To win decent work for all, your voice and participation are crucial. Join one of our Building Worker Power workshops to brush up on your organizing skills and connect with other workers ahead of the Ontario elections in June. These workshops will give you confidence to visit your MPP and build power in your community to demand decent work for all, including permanent paid sick days.
The decent work movement needs you to speak up for paid sick days, a $20 minimum wage, and much more. On Sunday, May 1 as the Ontario elections kick off, May Day actions calling for a Workers First Agenda and Justice for Workers will be held across the province. To help make May Day so big that no political party can ignore workers’ issues anymore, sign up to bring your ideas to the Activist Assembly on Sunday, March 6 at 9:30 am. What do you want May 1st to look like in your community? Let’s make it happen together!