Help us win PAID SICK DAYS for all!
Paid sick days save lives. Public health officers, big-city mayors, community and labour organizations are all calling for urgent action to legislate paid sick days.
The evidence shows paid sick days are effective at curbing transmission of infectious disease, including COVID-19.
- Yet, 58% of workers across Canada have no paid sick days, and that jumps to over 70% of low-income workers
- Even 75% of workers in the service sector, including food services, and 50% in health & social services sectors where the risk of exposure is highest, have no paid sick days
- No one should have to choose between staying home sick & paying the bills
- Black, Indigenous, and workers of colour are over-represented in low-wage, frontline work & are most at risk of becoming infected
- We hear a lot about thanking essential workers, but why is the government not protecting them with paid sick days?
Who to call
Let’s call our elected representatives to demand paid sick days now!
- Health Minister Christine Elliott: 416-327-4300
- Long-term care Minister Merrilee Fullerton: 613-599-3000
- Education Minister Stephen Lecce: 416-325-2600
- Premier Doug Ford: 416-325-1941 or 416-745-2859
- Labour Minister Monte McNaughton: 416-326-7600
- Premier Doug Ford: 416-325-1941 (Premier's office) and/or 416-745-2859 (Constituency office)
- Your OWN Conservative MPP: click here, scroll down, and enter your postal code: https://www.ola.org/en/members
(Feel free to change it up and make it your own!)
Hello, my name is _______. I am calling from ________.
I am outraged your party voted against Bill 239 that would have extended paid sick days to all workers. You and Premier Ford are ignoring recommendations from medical officers of health. Any claim your party has listened to and acted on expert advice is false. Your failure has contributed to the 3rd wave of COVID infections, resulting in preventable deaths, harm to our health and the health of the economy.
The very people who don’t have paid sick days at work are also least likely to access the federal sickness benefit. Far from getting both - as Ford suggests when he uses the term “double-dipping” - these workers get nothing.
Because of racism in the labour market, Black, Indigenous, and workers of colour are over-represented in jobs where paid sick days are not provided. By refusing to legislate paid sick days for all workers, you are reinforcing structural racism.
The vast majority of Ontarians support paid sick days for all. For that reason, Bill 247 has already been tabled and would provide 10 employer-paid emergency leave days. Today is World Health Day. I demand that you vote in favour of that bill.
Rest assured, if you do not vote for paid sick days in 2021, I and all my friends and neighbours, will be voting for paid sick days in the next election.
Ask a friend to do the same!
After you make your calls, consider phoning 5 of your friends or co-workers, to ask them to make similar calls. Share the url to this page with them, so they know what to do!
- Paid sick days fact sheet
- Paid sick days email petition
- Before it’s too late: Read the call to action report by health providers
For more information:
Ontario is facing yet another COVID crisis as Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott continue to ignore the advice of medical professionals as well as global evidence that adequate, seamlessly available, fully paid sick days are an indispensable for fighting COVID 19.
On World Health Day April 7, join us to demand legislated, employer-paid sick days for everyone. Click here to register.
Despite Ford’s claims that he will not hesitate to do everything possible, he has failed to implement the most basic and urgent provision to curb the spread of COVID and its variants: legislate paid sick days. Health Minister Christine Elliott has continued to repeat the false claim that paid sick days already exist. Meanwhile, almost everyone knows the federal program is temporary and inadequate. And the eligibility requirements exclude the very workers who don’t already have paid sick days at work.
By refusing to legislate paid sick days, Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton are prolonging the recovery and making another lockdown more likely. Nevertheless, the call for legislated paid sick days has overwhelming support across Ontario. And despite the defeat of private member’s Bill 239 that would have provided 7 permanent paid sick days plus an additional 14 paid sick days during public health outbreaks like COVID 19, another private member’s bill has already been tabled and passed first reading.
Bill 247 the Paid Personal Emergency Leave Now Act would provide 10 permanent, employer-paid emergency leave to cover sickness and other family emergencies.
April 7 is World Health Day
The overwhelming majority of Ontarians -- including health providers -- support legislated, fully-paid, and seamlessly accessible paid sick days for the 60% of workers who are currently denied this essential protection. As a member of the Decent Work and Health Network once observed: the only place Premier Ford has a majority is at Queen’s Park. That’s why it is essential for all of us to raise our voices loudly and demand the Ford government act on the will of Ontarians. Will you join us on April 7 at 6:30 pm to demand action on paid sick days?
We think World Health Day is an excellent occasion to call Health Minister Christine Elliott and other Conservative MPPs to sound the alarm for paid sick days for all of us.
It will also be a crucial opportunity to explain how white supremacy and racism are also threats to individual and public health and that denying paid sick days is a continuation of structural racism. As a result of racism in the labour market, Black, Indigenous, newcomers, and workers of colour are over-represented in part-time, low wage and precarious employment and as a result, are far less likely to have paid sick days and more likely to be in frontline jobs that put them in harm's way, especially during COVID.
Because the vast majority of part-time workers are paid less than their full-time counterparts, and because paid sick days are denied to part-time workers - even to those on the frontlines in health care - those in part-time work suffer directly and cumulatively as wages and all related entitlements from Employment Insurance to Canada Pension Plan are lower. Register for the phone ZAP here.
April 7 is Equal Pay Day
Equal Pay Day marks the number of additional days an average woman must work on top of her previous annual earnings to take home the same amount of money as their male counterparts did in a single calendar year.
The lack of paid sick days for women is an important contributor to women’s lower earnings. Because women still shoulder the burden of caring responsibilities in the household, women are more likely to work part-time as a means of balancing family and work responsibilities. Women are also more likely to be working part-time involuntarily, because of sexism in the labour market.
Black women, Indigenous women, racialized women and women with disabilities fare much worse than their white, able-bodied counterparts, as this Equal Pay Coalition info-graphic explains.
On April 7 - let’s let the Ford government know that decent work and paid sick days are matters of racial and gender justice. will you join us on April 7 at 6:30 pm to demand action on paid sick days? Please RSVP right now, and invite your friends, neighbours and coworkers to join you.
Register for the next Decent Work Organizing Meeting
The next provincial organizing meeting will be taking place on April 20 at 7:00 pm. Please register now and bring a friend. At that meeting we will be planning our provincial day of action on May 1 - the day we will be relaunching the campaign and setting the agenda for action today and in the next election.
May Day: Let’s put this government on notice
On May 1, let’s visit MPPs across the province to demand action. Click here to register to help put this government on notice that if they don’t act immediately to protect workers, we will take action now and in the next election.
The dramatic March 13 closure of a huge Amazon warehouse in Brampton shows how urgent it is for Premier Doug Ford to take action on paid sick days. Since October, over 600 workers at that warehouse have been infected by COVID-19 and its variants.  How many of these infections could have been prevented had Ontario taken medical officers’ health advice and moved quickly to ensure all workers have paid sick days?
Register right now for our March 23 online organizing meeting. Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link.
Ensuring that workers have the financial ability to stay home at the first sign of symptoms is now a matter of common sense to all but the Ford government. On March 1, while all opposition parties supported the NDP private member’s Bill 239 to provide paid sick days to all workers, Doug Ford’s Conservatives united to ensure the Bill was defeated.
This decision is short-sighted and dangerous to all of us, especially since COVID-19 infections and new variants are on the rise in Ontario. For as long as this government denies paid sick days to those of us who need them, we will continue to be forced to make the difficult decision to go to work sick to put food on the table or pay rent.
But let’s also be clear: this decision is racist. Because of racism in the labour market, white workers are more likely to have paid sick days in their jobs, more likely to be able to work from home and self-isolate, and, therefore, less likely to suffer financially when they take a sick day for anything from a headache to the flu.
Again, because of racism in the labour market, Black workers, Indigenous workers, workers of colour and newcomer workers are overrepresented in jobs that don’t provide paid sick days. These tend to be frontline service jobs where it is even more challenging for workers to protect themselves on the job without reprisals. And when we are simply too sick to work, there is a significant financial impact from losing even 1 or 2 days of work in a year.
See and share the full post on the Decent Work and Health Network's Instagram page here.
So, when our elected representatives deny paid sick days, they perpetuate racism and deepen the racial wage and wealth gap.
Vaccinations alone can’t substitute for paid sick days. Workers who need to get vaccinated must have paid sick days to get the shot and recover from any side-effects. It must also be said that the vaccination program is not expected to be complete until September, and even then, we know that some people will fall through the cracks. For all these reasons, paid sick days will continue to be a crucial tool in our COVID containment strategy now and in the future to protect everyone from common infectious disease and future public health outbreaks.
There is some good news. Thanks to your continued organizing, another paid sick days bill has already been tabled in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Bill 247 would provide 10 permanent, employer-paid emergency leave days to all workers as a matter of law. It is expected to come up for a vote in April - so that means we still have time to organize and persuade Ford’s Conservatives to do the right thing by supporting Bill 247.
Click here to RSVP for the March 23 decent work organizing meeting.
You should also know that a recent news story quoted unnamed sources from within the Conservative caucus, saying they feel the pressure to respond to our relentless campaign to win paid sick days for all.  This tells us our work together has been effective, and we need to intensify the pressure on every single Conservative MPP in this province.
Now’s the time to organize phone zaps in your riding, to demand meetings with your local MPP and spread the word far and wide. Let’s send a message that Ontario expects this government to legislate sick days now. Join the March 23 online organizing meeting.
Read on for upcoming decent work actions, as well as related events organized by our allies.
March 18 - Ontario Federation of Labour: A People First Agenda - Help & Hope, An Anti-Racism Discussion
In recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, let’s talk about the groundwork we need to lay to ensure we have a government committed to transformative change and takes action to challenge injustice and address barriers for racialized people. Click here to RSVP.
March 20 - Free Them All: National Day of Action in Solidarity with Prisoners
March 20 marks one year since the first prisoner in Canada contracted COVID-19 at the Toronto South Detention Centre. More than 6,700 COVID-19 cases were linked to prisons and jails in the last year - including 4,971 prisoners, despite persistent calls to take immediate action to avoid preventable deaths. Click here to RSVP.
March 21 - Brampton Paid Sick Days phone zap
Join us on Sunday, March 21 at 2:00 pm for this emergency phone ZAP to demand paid sick days for all. We are outraged that Conservative Brampton MPPs voted against Bill 239, which would have legislated permanent paid sick days for all of us. Brampton has one of the highest proportions of COVID 19 infections in Ontario, and workplaces are a persistent source of infection. Click here to RSVP
March 27 - Education Assembly
Join the first virtual Province-Wide Education Assembly to discuss what Ontarians need from our education systems during COVID-19 and beyond. This Assembly unites workers, parents, and students from child care to post-secondary through education, inspiration, and action. We will use these discussions to understand better how to work together to advocate for decent work and increased public funding for education, from child care to post-secondary. Click here to RSVP
March 27 - Solidarity with Grassy Narrows
Grassy Narrows is the English name for the Ojibwe Indigenous nation: Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek. Approximately 90% of Grassy Narrows residents suffer from mercury poisoning. The poisoning results from Dryden Chemicals Ltd. dumping mercury into the English-Wabigoon River system between 1962 and 1970.
After many years of work by Grassy Narrows and supporters like you, the federal government signed an agreement last Spring with Grassy Narrows and committed to building a Mercury Care Home using the community’s design! But Grassy Narrows still needs to gain just compensation for all of its people for the ongoing mercury crisis, restore their health, way of life, self-determination, and protect their land and water from industrial logging and mining. Click here to RSVP
April 7 - Ottawa Paid Sick Days phone zap
Join us on Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00 pm as we plan the next steps for the decent work movement in Ottawa. Click here to RSVP
April 20 - Decent work organizing meeting
Thanks to your incredible effort, there is growing momentum for safe and healthy workplaces for all. From paid sick days to migrant justice and decent wages to safe schools, your actions make a difference! Join us for our monthly organizing meetings together with the Ontario Federation of Labour to mobilize for the month ahead. Please RSVP here to get emailed the zoom link closer to the meeting. Click here to RSVP
MAY 1 - SAVE THE DATE: Decent work campaign relaunch
For the past several months, leaders in the Fight for $15 and Fairness have been consulting with hundreds of workers in low-wage, part-time, temporary, and other precarious jobs to find out where to take the campaign in the months and years ahead. We are assessing the feedback and preparing to re-launch the campaign based on the priorities workers have identified. Save the date and join us on Saturday, May 1, as we unveil the next phase of the decent work phase.
WATCH and SHARE: Black on Campus
Watch on Youtube: Click here to watch!
CONTENT WARNING: This video contains a graphic image and language.
The Fifth Estate investigates anti-Black racism on Canadian campuses
"Black on campus" is a ground-breaking video documentary about anti-Black racism on Canadian campuses. It was originally broadcast on February 25, 2021, by The Fifth Estate, CBC's premier investigative journalism program. For the first time in a major network broadcast, "Black on campus" reveals the day-to-day reality of systemic anti-Black racism facing Black students, staff, and faculty in Canada's post-secondary system.
Please help us promote "Black on Campus" by forwarding this message to your contacts, networks, and members. If you study or work on campus in Canada or want to be part of the fight against anti-Black racism, this documentary is essential. Please watch it and share it. Click here to watch the segment. The run time is only 21 minutes.
After watching the documentary, share your feedback with The Fifth Estate and encourage the CBC to produce more content like "Black on campus." Email [email protected] or click here. Click here to read more about the broadcast.
We need you at the next organizing meeting this Tuesday at 7:00 pm! With overwhelming support for provincially-legislated paid sick days, better wages, and hours of work, there's never been a more urgent time to get involved in the fight for decent work.
Register right now (click here) and bring a friend!
For your calendar, the next organizing meetings are taking place on the following Tuesdays at 7:00 pm: March 23; April 20; and May 18. You can register online here.
We LIT it UP for Paid Sick Days: Keep the fire burning
Thousands of people across Ontario took action in support of paid sick days. Click here to see samples of the many actions that took place over Family Day weekend.
On February 16, when the Ontario Legislative Assembly resumed, we sent a loud, clear message to all MPPs that paid sick days save lives. New Democratic Party MPP Peggy Sattler called for all-party consent for her private member's Bill 239 which would, if adopted, provide 7 paid sick days permanently plus an additional 14 days during public health outbreaks like COVID-19. Both the Green Party of Ontario and the Ontario Liberal Party support Bill 239. All-party consent would have meant an expedited process for adopting Bill 239, but Conservative MPPs opposed the proposal.
As it stands, Bill 239 will come back for additional debate on February 25 and a second vote is expected the first week of March. The days ahead are crucial. All of us have a role to play in turning the widespread support for paid sick days into phone calls and emails directly to MPPs.
Here's what you can do:
Join or organize a paid sick days phone ZAP in your community.
Email us at [email protected] if you want to organize your own local phone ZAP.
- Call your MPP right now. Let them know that their action - or inaction - on paid sick days is a voting issue for you. If you don't know your MPP, click here and scroll down to the "Find my MPP" section where you can type in your postal code.
Send a personal email to your MPP. Be sure to track how many emails and calls you have made and ask your neighbours, co-workers, and friends to do the same.
- Use social media. #PaidSickDaysSaveLives and #PaidSickDays are great sources of inspiration. Tag your MPP and let them know you want them to pass Bill 239. Here's a sample tweet to get you started:
"I expect my MPP [tag them] to support Bill 239 which provides all workers with 7 permanent paid sick days and an additional 14 paid sick days during public health outbreaks. #PaidSickDaysSaveLives #PaidSickDays @FairWagesNow"
- Put up a poster. Download and print a sign here or make your own. Put your poster on your door or in your window. You could even put a few up in your neighbourhood or deliver a sign to your MPP.
Federal COVID-19 income supports
The Fight for $15 and Fairness is one of 37 community and labour organizations across Canada that signed a statement calling on the Federal Government to extend and improve Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB), Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefits (CRCB), and temporary Employment Insurance (EI) measures.
Within hours of releasing the statement, the federal government announced the CRB and CRCB would be extended by another 12 weeks and the temporary EI measures would be extended by another 24 weeks.
These are welcome steps forward, but we must demand that CRB and CRCB are also extended for at least another 24 weeks. The economy will not be fully recovered in 12 weeks. That's why we need an extension in federal COVID-19 income supports until at least the end of 2021 or whenever the economy has recovered. We also need permanent improvements in EI so that this vital program is there for us when we need it - now and in the future.
Click here to sign the petition.
Save the date: May 1 Decent work campaign re-launch
For the past several months, leaders in the Fight for $15 and Fairness have been consulting with hundreds of workers in low-wage, part-time, temporary, and other precarious jobs to find out where to take the campaign in the months and years ahead. We are assessing the feedback and preparing to re-launch the campaign based on the priorities workers have identified. Save the date and join us on Saturday, May 1 as we unveil the next phase of the movement for decent work.
Become a monthly supporter
As you know, the Fight for $15 and Fairness operates on a shoestring budget, with most of our infrastructure provided by the Workers' Action Centre (which is like a union of non-union workers). COVID-19 has hit everyone hard and we sorely need financial support to keep our movement going.
Could you help us by becoming a monthly donor? That means giving us a modest contribution each month so we can have a steady income and plan accordingly. Every amount - no matter how small or big - makes a huge difference to our work. Click here right now to become a monthly donor.
NEWS FROM OUR ALLIES
Anti-Black racism is rampant in workplaces across Canada. This is as true in post-secondary education as it is in any other workplace. Courageously, workers and students on campus have been speaking up and speaking out.
On Thursday, February 25 at 9:00 pm, CBC's flagship investigative documentary series, The Fifth Estate, will broadcast a ground-breaking episode about anti-Black racism in post-secondary education. Titled "Black on campus," the episode will examine the cases of a Black staff person, a Black professor, and a Black student, and what happened to them when they complained about anti-Black racism on each of their campuses.
Here's how to watch on February 25 at 9:00 pm:
- Watch on TV: on any local CBC channel.
- Watch online: on CBC Gem. Create a free CBC Gem account by clicking here.
Thank you for your ongoing solidarity and leadership. See you at the next organizing meeting on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 pm. Don't forget to register here to get the link -- and bring a friend.
See you there!
The Fight for $15 and Fairness is one of 43 community and labour organizations across Canada that have signed on to a statement calling on the Federal Government to extend and improve Canada Recovery Benefits, Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefits, and temporary Employment Insurance (EI) measures. Together we are calling on the government to immediately act on much-needed reforms to EI as well as other income supports that community and labour groups have long advocated. These include an EI review that leads to comprehensive, lasting reforms with expanded access and improved benefits.
Without immediate action, hundreds of thousands of workers will run out of income support on March 27. This will be a disaster for the affected workers and for the economy since these income supports flow to local businesses as workers buy groceries and other necessities.
Take action and email the Prime Minister and your MP:
Crisis Looms for Hundreds of Thousands Who Face a ‘Benefit Cliff’ as COVID-19 Recovery and EI Benefits Start to Run Out March 27
Des centaines de milliers de personnes risquent de se trouver en crise à l’épuisement de leurs prestations de relance économique et d’assurance-emploi (AE) à partir du 27 mars 2021
There is now near-universal support for legislated, adequate paid sick days for all of us.
Last December, the Ontario NDP tabled Bill 239 - The “Stay at Home when you are Sick” Act. This bill provides seven permanent paid sick days plus an additional 14 paid sick days during public health outbreaks. As the legislative assembly resumes, Bill 239 already passed first reading and is supported by both the Ontario Green Party and the Ontario Liberal Party.
All party-consent would mean this life-saving bill could be expedited and implemented almost immediately. Unfortunately, so far, Premier Doug Ford and the rest of the Ontario Conservative Party refuse to legislate paid sick days.
That’s why we need your help.
CAR CARAVAN FOR PAID SICK DAYS on February 16
On Tuesday, February 16, the Ontario Legislative Assembly is resuming. Let’s show Premier Ford that the whole province expects him to do his job by legislating paid sick days for all of us.
Our Car Caravan will circle Queen’s Park, and we will make as much noise as we can to make sure they hear us loudly inside -- and out. Please let us know right now if you can help with the car caravan by using this link to register.
On February 16, we will meet at Hart House at the University of Toronto (9 Hart House Circle) at 9:30 am. We will take the next 30 minutes to decorate our cars. At 10:00 am, we will head off together to bring our urgent message to Queen’s Park, and we will finish our action by 11:00 am.
Here's what you can do:
- Put a car in the caravan (click here to register)
- Amplify on social media - feel free to use this message:
#LightitUP for #PaidSickDays because #PaidSickDaysSaveLives
I expect my MPP to support Bill 239, which provides all workers with 7 permanent paid sick days and an additional 14 paid sick days during public health outbreaks.
- Share the Facebook event
- Call your MPP directly (even if you’ve already called them - you could ask for an online meeting)
- Talk to your friends, neighbours, and co-workers about why we all need paid sick days
ON FAMILY DAY: LIGHT IT UP for PAID SICK DAYS
Paid sick days are crucial for the well-being of all families. What better way to mark the holiday than shine a spotlight on the urgency of legislated paid sick days?
This family day (February 15), the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Fight for $15 and Fairness are joining forces to LIGHT IT UP for paid sick days.
Here's what you can do:
- Visit the Ontario Federation of Labour resource page here for a Paid Sick Days colouring book and other social media tools (coming this week).
- Make a home-made Paid Sick Days Save Lives signs with your kids, or download and print a poster.
- Put your signs and designs up on doors, windows, or even post them in your neighbourhoods.
- Snap selfies of your signs with yourself or with your family and post them on social media. Be sure to tag your MPP when you do.
- Share the Facebook event
- Light up the phone lines. Call your Member of Provincial Parliament to demand they support the Paid Sick Days Bill 239 as the first item of business when the legislature resumes. Then ask friends and other family members to do the same. You can find your MPP here (scroll to the bottom and enter your postal code).
- OR call into your favourite talk show to help spread the word.
- Light it Up for paid sick days between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm: When the sun sets, light a candle, or turn on your porch lights, headlights, flashlights, cell phones, holiday lights, or LED lights and share your signs and designs over social media, to show your support for paid sick days.
- Feel free to use the following for social media:
#LightitUP for #PaidSickDays because #PaidSickDaysSaveLives
I expect my MPP to support Bill 239, which provides all workers with 7 permanent paid sick days and an additional 14 paid sick days during public health outbreaks.
Let's keep fighting for paid sick days!
The momentum keeps growing. Three more municipal councils have raised the call for legislated paid sick days: St. Catharines, London and Toronto. This is in addition to calls from Ontario’s Big City Mayors. And just this week, the Ottawa Board of Health voted to demand the Ontario government mandate paid sick leave, saying it is “an important tool for keeping the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases to a minimum.”
Even small businesses are speaking up to say paid sick days are critical for curbing the spread of infectious disease and avoiding future lockdowns. They want the government to legislate paid sick days to level the playing field. Many small businesses are already providing paid sick days. At the same time, big-box corporations like Loblaws, Walmart, and Amazon refuse to do so.
Let's raise our voices as loudly and as visibly as we possibly can. Every sitting MPP must feel the pressure from constituents that paid sick days are essential now -- and forever. Indeed, had paid sick days been in place before the COVID-19 outbreak, hundreds of people would still be alive today. It’s no exaggeration to say: paid sick days save lives.
Register now for the next decent work organizing meeting
Register now for the next decent work organizing meeting: Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 pm. This meeting will be crucial to share the momentum and plan the next steps for decent work. Please RSVP right now (click here) and invite a friend. We need all hands on deck to ensure essential workers have essential protections. As we know so tragically well, none of us are safe unless all of us are safe.
NEWS FROM OUR ALLIES
The Ontario Federation of Labour is hosting an important town hall to talk about how we can make better use of public resources by redirecting funds from policing to the social programs and services we all need.
Speakers include Robyn Maynard – Canadian Author and Academic; El Jones – Spoken word poet, educator, journalist, and community activist; and Sarah Jama – Community organizer and advocate. To RSVP and learn more, click here.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
SAVE THE DATES!
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!
PAID SICK DAYS SAVE LIVES
The new year has barely begun and already our hospitals are overwhelmed and Ontario has declared a state of emergency as a result of COVID-19 .
But Premier Doug Ford still refuses to implement paid sick days despite being repeatedly told that seamless access to adequate, permanent paid sick days is an essential tool in curbing the deadly consequences of this disease .
Workplaces are a key source of disease transmission. Why? Because workers are denied the essential protections that allow them to protect themselves and – by extension – our communities. Whether we are talking about the denial of paid sick days, about wages so low that health providers are forced into shelters because they can't find affordable housing, or inadequate hours that force part-time workers into multiple workplaces – workers need real protections now and forever .
Tuesday, January 19: Next online organizing meeting
Register NOW for the next online decent work organizing meeting on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:00 pm.
There's not a moment to lose in building the kind of movement we need to win permanent, employer-paid sick days for all. Come to the next organizing meeting and bring a friend! (And please be sure to register here so that you receive the Zoom link!)
Paid sick days - get the facts.
While over half of workers don't have paid sick days, those corporations least likely to provide employer-paid sick days are the corporations currently making stomach-churning profit. These are companies like Amazon, Walmart, Loblaws, and more who make their huge profits with a cheap-labour strategy and deny permanent paid sick days to their workforces.
These companies don't need more public subsidies, they need to be forced to protect workers. We have already seen how public subsidies have been abused to issue dividends to wealthy shareholders .
It is no surprise these same corporations are pushing back against the growing momentum for employer-paid sick days. They are making false claims that workers abuse paid sick days and employers can't afford them. But we know in jurisdictions where workers have access to as many as nine paid sick days, workers used an average of just three days and many used none.
SAVE THE DATES
Monthly decent work organizing meetings
For 2021, we will continue to meet once per month on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm. Upcoming meeting dates are as follows: February 23, March 23, and April 20.
Campaign re-launch - May 1
Circle the date and clear the decks. The campaign for decent work will be re-launching on May 1, 2021!
For the past several months, we have been busy talking with workers in low-wage, part-time, and precarious employment to find out what they want to fight for in the next phase of our campaign for decent work. From detailed one-on-one conversations to focus groups, we have been having conversations about what priorities need refreshing, what issues must be added to our agenda, and what changes continue to be urgently needed.
May 1 is known around the world as International Workers' Day to commemorate the fight for decent work. We can't think of a better day to relaunch our campaign.
We hope you'll join us!
In the meantime, take care, stay safe, and see you at tomorrow's organizing meeting!
On behalf of the Fight for $15 and Fairness team!
 Global News
 Huffington Post
 Ottawa Citizen
 CBC News
This has been an intense year, but thanks to you we have made an incredible difference.
From the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, we've worked together to protect as many people as possible. Please consider making a donation now to fuel this work in the year ahead (click here), as the pandemic rages on.
Whether it be fighting for adequate income supports, decent wages, or paid sick days, we've accomplished a lot. Here are just a few highlights:
Emergency Benefits and Employment Insurance
Together we campaigned for - and won - emergency benefits for workers and major improvements to Employment Insurance (EI). (Remember when the only thing the government initially announced for workers was waiving the one-week waiting period for EI and encourage workers to claim EI sickness benefits if they got COVID?)
After winning the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, we still fought tooth and nail for the weekly income support to be a minimum of $500 for a 16-week period. (Recall that the first announcement for emergency benefits was for only $450 in weekly pre-tax income and only for 14 weeks.)
Extending duration from 16 weeks to 28 weeks
When the first 16 weeks of benefits were set to expire but the economy was still in the depths of crisis, we had to push hard to demand an extension of benefits, winning a reprieve to August, then an additional four more weeks.
Justice for migrant workers
We fought alongside migrant-led organizations to ensure all migrant workers had access to emergency supports. These efforts led to important improvements! But it is crystal clear that without full protections under the law, too many people will fall through the cracks. That's why we must keep up the fight for full immigration status for all.
Recovery benefits and EI improvements
In the Fall, the government announced temporary improvements to the EI program that will ensure workers can access it after 120 hours of work, and will receive a minimum weekly pre-tax benefit of $500 for 26 weeks. These improvements have been crucial to ensure more workers can get EI when they need it. Alongside the EI changes, the government announced new Recovery Benefits that will provide similar support: $500 weekly (pre-tax), for 26 weeks.
2021: Let's make temporary improvements permanent!
None of this would have happened if people like you hadn't raised your voice - signed petitions, called your Member of Parliament, spoke to the media, and talked with your friends and neighbours. We know these changes have been huge, but more needs to be done to leave no one behind.
We will have to fight even harder in 2021 to ensure the temporary improvements to EI are made permanent, and that any worker who needs EI can access it. We must also fight to make sure we aren't unfairly penalized if we received overpayments. After all, this government has dished out millions to profitable corporations with no strings attached. It is a despicable double-standard to go after vulnerable workers for a few hundred dollars while giant corporations boast about taking millions in public money to line their own pockets. As CBC news reported [Source 1] in December:
"... trucking giant TFI International ... received $63 million in wage subsidies by the end of September, while also paying out $45 million in dividends amid rising profits and a soaring share price. ... 'We are not ashamed,' about taking the wage subsidies, TFI CEO Alain Bédard told a Montreal newspaper in October."
With or without the vaccine, it will be a long time before the economy fully recovers and we must ensure everyone has the income support they need for as long as needed. Please make a donation now (click here) to fund this important fight - no contribution is too large or small!
Paid Sick Days
After years of campaigning for paid sick days, this year our voice grew even louder with almost every Chief Medical Officer in Canada echoing this important demand [Source 2]! Along with our allies in the Decent Work and Health Network, we've been sounding the alarm on paid sick days since the first days of the pandemic. For months, we have banged pots and pans for paid sick days, organized socially-distanced actions, written letters, sent emails, and made thousands of phone calls both individually and collectively through our many phone ZAPs.
In response, the federal government created the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) that provides $500 per week in pre-tax income, for two one-week periods. This is a step forward and a win for us. But it must be said: CRSB is no substitute for adequate paid sick days legislated by every provincial government (and added to the Canada Labour Code).
As you know from previous campaign updates, to access these two weeks of benefits, a worker must already have lost 50% of their weekly income due to illness, and only after-the-fact can they apply for benefits. This is the kind of barrier health professionals warned against and it explains why the take-up rate for the CRSB has been so low [Source 3].
Tragically, no provincial government to date has legislated adequate paid sick days permanently (at least seven) and during pandemics (at least 14 additional days). But the urgency for implementing this life-saving legislation is more visible than ever. That's why the number of people mobilizing and organizing on this issue is growing right across the country.
We started this year by calling on the federal government to honour its promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2020. Sadly, the federal government let us down. Tens of thousands of workers in the federally-regulated private sector would have benefitted from a $15 federal minimum wage.
Federal Labour Minister Filomena Tassi still claims to support raising the federal minimum wage. So in 2021, we must redouble our efforts to make sure this issue is a top priority next year. Let's not let the federal government get away with ignoring their promise to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 and index it each year to keep up with rising prices.
It is also urgent that we continue the fight to raise the minimum wage everywhere. Companies like Loblaws, Amazon, Walmart, and more raked in billions more in revenue during the pandemic. And although they briefly instituted pandemic pay, most cancelled it in the summer when the federal emergency benefits were set to expire. This callous behaviour shows what we have always known: corporations can easily afford to pay workers decently. But they'd rather issue dividends to shareholders than ensure their workers work safely and live with dignity.
Let's remember: the best way to make pandemic pay permanent is to raise the minimum wage for all of us!
Build the decent work movement!
RSVP now for the first decent work organizing meeting in 2021
Rumour has it that we may be facing a federal election early next year. Let's be sure to hit the ground running in 2021. Our next big organizing meeting will take place online on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:00 pm. Register now (click here), put it in your calendar, and then bring a friend or co-worker to the next meeting.
Help build our fighting fund
2020 has been a difficult year to be sure, but your actions and efforts have made a huge difference. None of our collective work would be possible without your political solidarity and financial generosity. If you are able to help us out financially, please consider doing so. Click here to make a donation. Even $1.00 will make a difference. And if you are already one of our financial supporters, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Rest up and have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday break!
On behalf of the Fight for $15 and Fairness staff team, we salute all of you for everything you do whether it be on the frontlines, at work, from home, or behind the scenes - no action has gone to waste. We hope you get a well-deserved break and have a safe and happy holiday.
See you in 2021!
On behalf of the whole Fight for $15 and Fairness team!
As COVID infections spike across Canada, there has never been more urgency to demand action on paid sick days and decent wages.
We know that frontline workers are at much greater risk of exposure on the job.
Yet, while workers face the worst safety crisis of our lifetime, bad bosses like Loblaws, Amazon, and Walmart are cashing in at our expense.
Will you send an email right now to the Prime Minister, the federal Minister of Labour, and opposition party leaders? Click here now!
Email the Prime Minister now!
Minimum wage earners in the federally-regulated private sector (bank tellers, airport workers, road workers and more) have been waiting for more than a year for this long-overdue wage bump. This is absolutely shameful.
Some of us doing federally-regulated work make as little as $11.45/hour in Saskatchewan or $11.70/hour in New Brunswick. And most of the rest of us doing this work earn far less than $15 an hour. We all deserve so much better.
That's why we need to speak up loudly and clearly to make sure the federal government keeps its promise to raise the federal minimum wage.
The next seven days are critical
On Monday, November 30 at 4:00 pm, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance will be delivering an economic update, where they will be outlining their priorities for the weeks ahead.
We need to make sure that frontline workers are central in the government's vision to suppress the virus and recover from the pandemic.
ZAP the Prime Minister!
Let’s deliver a loud, clear message to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour, and our own Members of Parliament.
Every phone call we make over the next week will be crucial. Here's how you can help:
Register for one of several upcoming phone ZAPs where we will meet, and make phone calls together:
- November 24: Ottawa, Ontario ZAP - 7:00 pm EST
- November 26: Newfoundland and Labrador ZAP - 7:00 pm NST
- November 27: British Columbia ZAP - 11:00 am PST
- November 29: Vancouver, BC ZAP - 11:30 am PST
- November 29: Toronto, ON ZAP - 7:00 pm EST
- December 5: Nova Scotia ZAP - 3:00 pm AST
Remember to check the campaign website events page here, because more phone ZAPs are coming online every day.
And please don't wait to make your calls!
You can take action right now by contacting your own MP. To find your local Member of Parliament click here and type in your postal code.
Paid Sick Days Now!
More than 11,500 people have died from COVID 19 in Canada and it is widely understood now that low-wage, precarious work without paid sick days and health benefits are a major risk factor in contracting the virus. 
That's why it is so appalling that no level of government has moved to ensure every single one of us have seamless access to adequate paid sick days.
We are in a major crisis and need action now
Click here to send an urgent email to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot as well as your own Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP).
If you have already signed it, please ask two or three more of your friends, family and co-workers to also sign it.
More and more public health officials are speaking out for the urgent need for paid sick days to make it possible for workers to stay home when they are sick, without risking their jobs or their paycheques. 
This demand clearly cuts across political party lines. From NDP leaders in Nova Scotia and Ontario  to Conservative party members like Toronto Mayor John Tory and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown  more and more elected leaders are sounding the alarm on paid sick days for all.
We need your voice!
On Tuesday, December 1 at 6:00 pm, we are calling on everyone to come together to phone the Ontario Premier and Health Minister. We want to deliver hundreds of phone calls and we need your commitment to make this happen.
Please raise your voice and join the action on Tuesday, December 1 in support of paid sick days now: click here to register.
All our lives depend on it.
 Decent Work and Health Network: Dr. Tam: paid sick leave is “essential to protect worker and community health”
 Ottawa Citizen: 10,000 COVID deaths in Canada, and still no adequate paid sick days
 Ottawa Citizen: Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill says paid sick days should be part of the provincial Labour Standards Code
 Brampton Guardian: Brampton Mayor on COVID and precarious work
“Brampton has one of the highest percentages of essential workers,” Mayor Patrick Brown said Wednesday. “And if you look at the particular area that was highlighted in the Toronto Star article, this has one of the highest level of factory workers, people who work in industrial settings, essential workers and transportation logistics, food processing. ...
“I hear again and again it’s too difficult to get sick benefits, and people are going to work when they have symptoms, people are going to work because they can’t afford to lose their job. They don’t have time to wait for six months of paperwork from Ottawa to get that sick-benefit payment back; they can’t afford to miss a paycheque.