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February 16, 2021

(Toronto) – This morning, Doug Ford’s Conservative Government refused to support the NDP’s call for all-party consent to pass Bill 239, Peggy Sattler’s Stay Home If You Are Sick Act. Bill 239 would provide 7 permanent paid sick days, plus 14 additional days during a pandemic like the COVID-19 crisis. The Ontario Federation of Labour is outraged by the Ford Government’s refusal to immediately pass this critical legislation.

“Legislating paid sick days is a common sense action that public health officials, mayors, and workers’ advocates all agree is essential to curbing the spread of COVID-19,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President, “PC MPP’s decision to continue to ignore expert advice will result in preventable illnesses and deaths. This government’s refusal to protect Ontarians is infuriating and heartbreaking.”

Workplace outbreaks continue to be a preventable hazard contributing to the spread of COVID-19. Guaranteed employer-provided paid sick days would guarantee critical protections for workers, ensuring they do not have to choose between putting food on the table and going to work sick. Despite claims by Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton that they do not want to duplicate the Federal sickness benefit, the fact is that the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is simply not a replacement for paid sick days.

“Paid sick days ensure no income disruption and are available to every worker who needs them,” said Coates, “the Federal sickness benefit is temporary, restricted, and requires an application. Guaranteed paid sick days are the only way to ensure that workers can stay home to keep their communities safe.”

Workers in Ontario are disappointed in the Ford Government’s refusal to pass Bill 239 today. However, there is still time to legislate the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act. The Ontario Federation of Labour will continue to call on the Ontario legislature to pass this critical measure to keep Ontarians healthy and safe.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Palermo 
Director of Communications 
Ontario Federation of Labour
mpalermo@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456

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