Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario

Who is calling for Paid Sick Leave?

Published on April 8, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK - Premier Ford dismissed the many people calling for paid sick leave as “playing politics”. Here is a short list of front-line health workers, doctors, medical experts and concerned citizens calling for this simple, effective and utterly necessary measure:

  • Samantha Hill, President, Ontario Medical Association: “Workers without paid sick leave often feel forced to work when unwell so they can feed and support their families. At a time when we are all working as hard as we can to reduce spread, and protect our most vulnerable, it’s unfathomable to ask to put workers in that position. Beyond being the right thing to do for the individual, paid sick days are essential for Ontario’s recovery and well-being.”
  • Ontario Hospitals Association: “programs such as paid sick leave and isolation accommodation for people with COVID-19 who do not have the financial means to avoid working outside the home."
  • Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Chief Medical Officer of Health: “It’s time for employers who choose not to pay employees when they are sick to put people over profit. The cost of COVID-19 spreading across our community is far greater than the price of a few sick days.”
  • Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk’s Chief Medical Officer of Health: “I think giving people paid sick leave is an appropriate response to managing the pandemic.”
  • Patrick Brown, Mayor of Brampton: “Dr. Loh and myself have been outspoken about the need for paid sick days. I find it infuriating that here we are so far into the pandemic and we still have workers going to work with symptoms because they can’t afford to miss a pay check because they have to put food on the table or pay rent. Paid sick days are a critical tool we need for our vulnerable essential workers.”
  • John Tory, Mayor of Toronto: “Whatever the arrangements presently in place, they are either not adequate or not adequately understood.”
  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce: “Ensuring people, particularly during a pandemic, can afford to stay home, is both the right thing to do and an economical thing to do.”
  • Ontario Federation of Labour: “The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) urges Ontario’s government to take immediate action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our province by providing at least seven paid sick days and ten days of job-protected, paid emergency leave for all workers."
  • Toronto City Council voted 24-2 calling on Ontario to implement paid sick days.
  • Hamilton City Council voted 11-4 calling on Ontario to implement paid sick days.
  • Ottawa's Board of Health has voted to ask the Ontario government to institute paid sick days for workers
  • Registered Nurses Association of Ontario: “We need measures that will save lives. Urgently, we need to provide 10 paid sick days for all workers.”
  • Globe and Mail Editorial Board: “An emergency program of paid sick leave for essential workers, delivered by employers but paid for by the federal government, is needed.”
  • Toronto Star Editorial Board: “Ontario needs to step up to its responsibilities and ensure that workers who are sick, or think they might be, have the paid days they need to do the right thing and stay home — and not just in a pandemic.“
  • Niagara Dailies Editorial Board: “Sick workers deserve sick pay. Period.”
  • Primary Care Collective: “Implement paid sick leave for all essential workers now. This is essential to ensuring businesses that remain open, such as warehouses, retail and others, can remain open safely for all workers while offering curbside pick-up and continuing essential work.”
  • Ontario Nonprofit Network: “This pandemic has shone a light on the critical importance of paid sick days in keeping our entire communities safe.”
  • Simcoe Muskoka District Public Health Unit: “The Board of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is deeply concerned about the absence of paid sick leave standards for workers in the province.”
  • Association of Local Public Health Agencies: ““With workplaces having been identified as increasingly significant drivers of COVID-19 outbreaks, we agree that one of these options should be to reinstate guaranteed paid sick leave under the Employment Standards Act, to ensure that workers do not have to choose between their livelihoods and following public health directives.”
  • Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer: agreed to question in November 2020 that paid sick leave was a “good example” of a program that could help.