March 2nd, 2021

Horwath’s NDP launches campaign for paid sick days in Ontario

QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath’s NDP is launching a campaign Tuesday to ramp up its fight to secure paid sick days for every worker in the province.

Doug Ford’s Conservatives have blocked the expedited passage of NDP MPP Peggy Sattler’s Stay Home If You Are Sick Act three times in as many weeks, and then voted against the bill at second reading Monday. But Horwath said New Democrats have been fighting for paid sick days for years, and they’re more important now than ever.

“A paid sick day is what would keep a personal support worker with a cough from going into the homes of vulnerable seniors, or stop a sick factory worker from accidentally starting a massive outbreak,” said Horwath. “Paid sick days are not only the right thing to do for working folks. Paid sick days will help stop the spread, and end the lockdowns.

“We’ve been fighting for paid sick days for years, and we’re absolutely not giving up now. We know we can put public health ahead of money and politics. We can stop the spread, and save lives.”

The NDP will move for all-party support on a motion Tuesday to implement paid sick days immediately. Since MPPs returned to the legislature last month, the NDP has forced a vote on paid sick days multiple times, with the Ford Conservatives blocking it every time. The NDP has been calling for 14 government-paid sick days during a pandemic, on top of permanent paid sick days built into employment law.

An estimated 60 per cent of Ontarians do not have permanent paid sick days, and that number is much higher among low-income workers, in sectors like food service, hospitality and retail, and among racialized and immigrant workers.

Paid sick days have been endorsed by mayors, municipalities, medical officers of health and public health experts, as well as the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The NDP’s paid sick days campaign will give people a tool to share personal experiences and encourage people to join in and share theirs, and empower them add their voice to a petition to call on Doug Ford to enact paid sick days.