January 25, 2021

It's critical: Workers need paid sick days

The evidence keeps pouring in that legislated, employer-paid sick days are essential to protect workers and communities. Over 15,000 health providers have contracted COVID-19, including personal support workers and nurses. This represents a doubling of cases among health workers in only three months. Meanwhile, Loblaws corporation reported that 56 grocery store workers at 43 stores in the Greater Toronto Area tested positive for COVID-19 in the four weeks starting December 24. And still, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton remain unfazed.

Emergency phone ZAP: Paid sick days save lives

We need your help to wake up our government representatives. Please join us on Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00 pm in an emergency phone action. Click here to RSVP right now. Then find one more person who can help. To sound the alarm for paid sick days, we want to deliver as many phone calls as possible. We're counting on you to help spread the word. 

Paid Sick Days Save Lives - J26 Sharable

Join us this Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00 pm

Toolkit: Download your paid sick days kit 

The Decent Work and Health Network has provided all the tools you need to get up to speed on why we need legislated, employer-paid sick days for all. Help us share these resources. 

  • In brief: Why the Canada Recovery Sickness benefit will never be a substitute for legislated, employer-paid sick days for all (click here).
  • Get the facts: 2-pager separating paid sick days facts from the fiction peddled by corporate lobbyists (click here).
  • Let's get visible: Print and post this sign for your front door or window (click here).

Allies have also drafted a sample resolution calling for paid sick days. Download the sample motion here, amend as needed, then take it to your local union or central labour body, your students' union, your community organization, or your local riding association. The more groups that adopt this resolution, the stronger our movement will be. And, please do let us know when it is adopted!

If you're on social media, there is now a sharable Facebook frame for your social media profile picture that reads: "No more preventable deaths. Paid sick days now." Get yours here.

Report back: January 19 online organizing meeting

With over 150 people joining in from across Canada, we had a high-energy meeting last Tuesday. We had three breakout groups: Paid sick days save lives; Safe education; and Safe and healthy workplaces. We strategized, planned, and committed ourselves to strengthening the decent work movement. This commitment is especially important since we learned that all provincial and territorial Ministers of Labour will be meeting with their federal counterpart in mid-February. 

COVID-19 has exposed the extent of precarious work and all the hardships - and tragedies - that go with it. Although we agreed that fighting for paid sick days is a key link right now, it is also clear workers need better wages, safer working conditions, decent hours, and better benefits. That's why we planned to pull out all the stops to organize and activate more people between now and mid-February when the labour ministers meet.

Breakout room: Paid sick days save lives

Participants decided to do another big phone ZAP – this time targeting the Ontario Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton along with our own local Members of Provincial Parliament. RSVP here for the 6:00 pm phone ZAP next Tuesday.

Participants thought it would be exciting to follow up the big phone ZAP with lots of smaller phone zaps organized by groups or individuals in their own communities. Other great ideas coming out of the paid sick days save lives breakout group included making and posting short videos saying why we need legislated, employer-paid sick days. Participants also highlighted the importance of sharing social media posts, especially from the hashtags: #PaidSickDaysSaveLives and #PaidSickDays. The idea of a car caravan in the days ahead was also popular, so watch this space for updates on that.

Breakout group: Safe education

The group had a wide-ranging and comprehensive discussion, noting that chronic underfunding of education, from early childhood to post-secondary, has left our education systems woefully unprepared for the COVID crisis. Whether we're talking about broken ventilation systems or overcrowded classrooms, more must be done to protect our communities. It was particularly noted that low-wage, part-time, and temporary employment is a health-and-safety risk inside and outside the education system. The absence of legislated paid sick days for parents and education workers as well as students themselves intensifies that risk.

Action items:

  • Please sign and share this important petition from the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare (click here). 
  • Click here to register for the Ontario Federation of Labour's education forum on Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. 

Breakout group: Safe and healthy workplaces

The group had an excellent discussion about why occupational health and safety experts must have a bigger role in developing workplace COVID-19 guidelines. While workers are blamed for breaking rules, the reality is that many workplaces that continue to operate fail to provide the resources that allow workers to protect themselves. Racism was also discussed as a critical health-and-safety issue.

Action items:

  • Click here to RSVP for an OFL forum on what it means to redirect funds from policing to the services that we all need and depend on.
  • Click here to RSVP for an OFL forum on health and safety on campus on February 2 at 7:00 pm.

URGENT: Temp Agency Consultation

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced a consultation on Temporary Help Agencies (for more information, click here). Unfortunately, the frame for this consultation is not from the perspective of workers, but rather from the perspective of employers. There is a very tight window for making submissions, and the deadline is January 29. To help everyone respond quickly, we are inviting organizations and individuals to endorse the joint-submission written and submitted by Parkdale Community Legal Services, Migrant Workers' Alliance for Change, and the Workers' Action Centre. Take a look at the submission as well as a sample endorsement letter on our website.


Join us at our upcoming monthly organizing meetings! Our meetings take place Tuesdays at 7:00 pm on the following dates: February 23; March 23; and April 20.

And be sure to mark Saturday, May 1 in your calendars to join us as we relaunch the campaign for decent work. 

See you all on Zoom next Tuesday at 6:00 pm for the paid sick days phone ZAP!