Last week, following the Day of Action for paid emergency leave and under pressure from the Federal NDP, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to push for 10 paid sick days for all workers in Canada. Victory is in reach, but we’re not there yet! Click here to see the recommendations we’re putting forward with the Fight for $15 & Fairness and Parkdale Community Legal Services to turn this promise into action.
For years, we’ve been demanding at least 7 paid sick days, and recently 14 paid days during pandemics. 10 paid sick days, permanently, would make a huge difference for our communities! But we need the federal government to show that they’re serious. To set a strong example for the provinces, they need to immediately increase paid sick leave to 10 days for nearly 1 million federally regulated workers.
Take 2 minutes to call your Member of Parliament to demand 10 paid sick days right away and permanently! Check out these speaking tips to make your call.
Our members are making the call. Post your own video or photo with the hashtag #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives, and invite your family and friends to do the same.
Essential workers have been at risk throughout this crisis, too many without a single paid sick day. But especially now, with more businesses allowed to open their doors, more workers are under pressure to either work while sick or else lose much-needed pay. As a result, workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 have been increasing over the past 2 weeks, with sectors known for poverty-level wages, like manufacturing, food processing and delivery, hit hardest — read the full Toronto Star story. Still, the Ontario government continues to delay action on paid sick days, which could prevent these outbreaks and give every worker the ability to stay home as soon as they have symptoms.
We need paid sick days for ALL immediately, and we need them to be enforced. On our hotline, the Workers’ Action Centre gets hundreds of calls from workers who are punished for taking an unpaid sick day. They are questioned about how sick they really are, get their work hours cut, are bullied in front of their coworkers, and they are fired. To truly protect workers, these 10 paid sick days must be job-protected and government enforced.
We cannot for a minute forget that paid sick days are a public health requirement for the long haul. Millions of people–including early childhood educators, workers who supply our food, healthcare workers, warehouse workers and much more–do not have a single legislated, paid sick day. This lack of protection ensures that each flu season will bring preventable illnesses to the most vulnerable among us. Paid sick days are an everyday necessity for the health and safety of our workplaces and communities.
While strong public support is forcing corporate lobby groups to admit that paid sick days are needed, they are still pushing to make them temporary–and they want us to pay for it. Workers are already paying for this pandemic through lay-offs, lowered employment standards, and the daily health risk of going into work. At the same time, the profits of companies like Amazon, Loblaws, and Walmart are skyrocketing as they benefit from increased sales due to the pandemic.
We must make sure that this basic protection does not get funded by our tax dollars when wealthy corporations can easily afford it. Workers should get sick leave pay on their paycheques, in time to pay their rent and put food on the table. Applying to the government for sick leave pay would be impractical for workers and an added burden on the EI system or the CRA. Click here to see our full list of recommendations. Paid sick leave should be employers’ responsibility to workers, and we need labour laws that keep them accountable.
Our movement is strong enough to make sure the Prime Minister not only acts on his word, but makes a lasting improvement to labour protections across the nation. Call your local Member of Parliament now and invite your friends, family, and neighbours to call, too. We can’t stop the pressure now!