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.