Ontario to give workers 3 paid sick days, reimburse businesses costs

Matteo Fusco on Unsplash

Matteo Fusco on Unsplash

Eligible workers in Mississauga and Brampton could collect between $600 to $1,000 a week under a province-wide paid sick leave program announced by the Ontario government today.

Public health experts, unions, and some businesses have been calling for a paid sick day program to allow Ontario residents with COVID-19 to stay home without losing a paycheque. "Even getting a test and waiting for results can take several days".

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton explains the program would provide workers up to $200 for up to three days if they are feeling sick or need to get vaccinated.

Ontario has also offered to boost the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit from $500 to $1,000.

It would take effect as of April 19th and will run until September 25th.

"Ontario is very proud of those working throughout this unprecedented time to keep essential parts of our economy and local communities open through the pandemic", said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board.

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Last week, Premier Doug Ford promised the province would implement its own sick-leave program after criticizing the federal government for not enhancing its Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit.

"We believe that this is the simplest and fastest way to increase program uptake and make this program more effective for those people who need this program most", read the statement.

The Ontario government says it will reimburse employers for up to three paid sick days for every employee who misses work because of COVID-19.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the program falls far short of what's needed, leaving people to make "really hard decisions" when trying to protect themselves, work colleagues and their families.

As of April 11, 2021, over $600 million of the $1.1 billion committed by the federal government as part of the Safe Restart Agreement now remains unclaimed.

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