April 23, 2021
Honourable Monte McNaughton
Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
Dear Minister McNaughton:
TEMPORARY, GOVERNMENT-PAID PANDEMIC SICK LEAVE
I am writing to express our support for the request by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce that the Ontario government consider amending the Employment Standards Act to guarantee a number of paid sick days, which could be jointly funded by provincial and federal governments.
Ensuring people can afford to stay home during a pandemic is the right thing to do – both morally and economically. When a worker protects themselves, they are protecting their colleagues, their employer, safeguarding the business, and the wider community by extension.
We strongly agree that business, particularly small businesses, simply cannot afford the additional financial responsibility to fund sick leave at this time, which is why we support the notion of a temporary paid sick program that is paid for by the government for the duration of the pandemic.
The program offered through the federal government has specific eligibility criteria to qualify to receive it and has processing delays to receive payment after applying. This makes it very difficult for low-income households, that are reliant on their weekly income to make ends meet. A paid sick day, on the other hand, is a benefit that does not cause a loss of take-home income and does not require an application process.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your continued leadership to support both employers and employees as they experience economic disruptions related to COVID-19.
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