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Province’s paid sick-leave program set to expire

By Randy Thoms Mar 2, 2023 | 5:09 AM

There are renewed calls for workers in Ontario to have an annual paid sick-leave program.

It comes as a three-day one established by the Ford government during the pandemic is to end at the end of this month.

It is known as the Worker Income Protection Benefit.

Deena Ladd of the Workers Action Centre says because of limitations, very few have benefited.

So far, only half a million Ontario workers have accessed WIPB as of June 2022. That’s only 11% of workers who have no access to paid sick days,” says Ladd.

Under this program, workers had to ask their employer to access the three paid sick days and suggest that the business gets reimbursed by the government.

Ladd says many workers were reluctant to do so.

She also notes the program only provided just three days from the time it was put.

“It’s not just three days in 2021, an additional three days in 2022, and yet another three days in 2023. Nope, not even close. It’s been a total of the same three days for the entire duration of the pandemic.”

Ladd says workers need better.

“This government has consistently disregarded advice from medical offices, doctors and other health professionals who have been urging just to follow a simple public health recommendation that Ontario workers need a seamless, accessible employer-paid program of ten paid sick days, with an additional 14 paid sick days during a public health crisis, which is what we’ve just been through.”

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