People really aren't loving Ontario's plan for paid sick days

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NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the program falls far short of what's needed, leaving people to make "really hard decisions" when trying to protect themselves, work colleagues and their families.

Ontario is announcing a sick leave plan for workers impacted by COVID-19.

"Our government has long advocated for the federal government to enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers", said Labour Minister Monte McNaughton.

The federal COVID-19 benefit only applies to those forced to take time off due to contracting the virus or being ordered to isolate due to coronavirus concerns.

Provincial officials say negotiations with federal counterparts are ongoing and they are optimistic Ottawa will buy into the program.

So it seems we're getting a paid-sick-leave plan generally because the Ford government is trying to extricate itself from a serious political crisis; and Ontario workers are getting three days specifically because, in this moment of crisis, the federal government had the leverage to extract that much from the premier's office. "If I have the common cold, three days might be enough". The program, which is available to full- and part-time employees, will be retroactive to April 19 and be effective until September 25.

Last week, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the government was studying a recommendation made by Ontario's COVID-19 science table saying that 50 per cent of the province's vaccine supply should be sent to hot spots most in need.

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This latest measure builds on other existing provincial supports like job-protected leave and access to isolation facilities, making Ontario's approach the most comprehensive COVID-19 sick leave in the country.

Constitutionally, provinces are responsible for employment laws like paid sick leave, however, Ontario and British Columbia had been calling for changes to the federal benefit.

The Conservative government of Canada's most populous province has faced public backlash in recent weeks for bringing in new restrictions not endorsed by its public health advisers, without implementing any form of paid sick leave. "The government of Canada and Ontario have done a historic job delivering the Safe Restart Agreement a year ago".

Some people argue that, while they're happy for their tax dollars to support local and independent businesses that otherwise couldn't afford sick pay, they're not entirely on board with bankrolling sick leave at somewhere like Costco.

The province says it is still in talks with Justin Trudeau's government about a top-up program, but as of Tuesday, the feds had only indicated that the province needs to mandate sick pay itself.

First, there is no provincial sick leave plan that would have halted the spread of COVID-19.

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