Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario

Why is the Premier refusing to develop a paid sick leave program?

Published on June 23, 2020

QUEEN'S PARK -- "My question is to the Premier. Speaker, since the beginning of this pandemic, public health experts have all agreed on how to flatten the curve: wash your hands, maintain physical distancing, and stay home if you are sick. 

For many workers without paid sick days, staying home was their only option because their non-essential workplace was shut down. Now, as the economy reopens it will be almost impossible for low-wage workers - like those in retail or hospitality - to stay home to recover or wait for the results of a COVID test, when that means even more financial hardship. 

How does the Premier expect to prevent a deadly second wave of the virus when workers can’t afford to stay home if they are sick? 

Speaker, the federal government - pushed by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh - has recognized that there is a vital public interest in providing paid sick days so that workers can stay home when they are sick without losing their wages. 

Especially in a pandemic, the cost of paid sick days should not just be the responsibility of hard hit employers. Government must come to the table as well. That’s why the federal government proposed to work with the provinces on a paid sick leave program. 

Speaker, when other provinces and territories have welcomed the federal initiative, can the Premier explain why he “doesn’t believe” in paid sick days - against the advice of almost all public health experts - and why he is refusing to develop a paid sick leave program?"