The Hamilton Spectator

Ontario to end paid sick day program


Ontario will soon end its temporary paid sick day program, The Canadian Press has learned.

The program that provided three paid sick days to workers during the pandemic will expire at the end of the month, a spokespers­on for Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday.

“As a time-limited pandemic measure, the Ontario government introduced paid COVID-19 leave, a program designed to support people who needed to take time off work to isolate or get vaccinated,” Caitlin Clark said.

“Ontario has now achieved one of the highest vaccinatio­n rates in the world, and consistent with the sunset date for this program, it will expire effective March 31, 2023.”

Clark said it will not be replaced with another program, but said the Progressiv­e Conservati­ve government will continue moving forward with its plan to provide portable health and dental coverage to workers without paid sick days.

That portable benefits program is intended to cover workers in the gig economy, retail and hospitalit­y jobs who don’t have benefits, and accommodat­e people who may change careers throughout their lives.

Thursday’s budget will mention the end of the sick day program.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles said her party was pushing for 10 guaranteed paid sick days for all Ontarians plus an additional 14 government­funded paid sick days during a public health emergency.

“This government is no friend to Ontario workers,” Stiles wrote in a statement.

“Nobody in Ontario should have to go to work sick, or leave a sick child, because they can’t afford not to.”

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