'Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills'
In working with the provinces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising that all Canadian workers will have access to 10 days of paid sick leave per year as the recovery phase of the pandemic begins.
"Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries," said Trudeau. “That's why the government will continue discussions with the provinces, without delay, on ensuring that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, every worker in Canada who needs it has access to 10 days of paid sick leave a year.”
Though details of the plan are still unclear, Trudeau said that the government will also consider other mechanisms for the longer term to support workers with sick leave.
Endorsements from NDP, labour
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh endorsed the announcement, saying the NDP has been calling on the federal government to make sure all workers have access to two weeks of paid sick leave so they can take the time to heal and stop the spread of any virus or sickness.
"We will keep pushing the government to make sure they deliver on this commitment and that they work with provinces to make sick leave for workers permanent going forward," he said. "Let's make sure that workers never have to make the choice of losing a day of pay for staying home sick."
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) also welcomed Trudeau’s proposal.
“Today’s announcement means that frontline workers will no longer be forced to choose between their job and their health,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff. “Right now, it is incredibly important that any worker who has been exposed to COVID-19 can self-quarantine without anxiety of lost wages.”
As of Thursday last week, nearly a third of businesses across Canada are already fully open, up from 21 per cent from a month ago, according to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).
Forty-five per cent of Canadians are also looking forward to returning to their workplace, according to a separate report.