TORONTO – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca issued the following statement:
“Last week Doug Ford apologized – and literally shed tears – for not bringing in paid sick leave. After nearly a week since his apology, several flip flops, more than 20,000 infections, and 159 deaths, we’re finally going to hear something.
I want to remind the government of the five key standards for a successful program that Ontario Liberals provided in a letter to Doug Ford.
Every worker in Ontario, regardless of where they live and work, must be included in the program and must be eligible to access paid sick leave if needed.
At a minimum, the program must be available to all Ontario workers until the Science Advisory Table has deemed that the pandemic has ended. It cannot be time-limited to the current stay-at-home order. Once the threat of the pandemic has truly subsided, a wider discussion will need to take place regarding the reinstatement of permanent paid-sick leave, which Ontario Liberals will continue to advocate for.
The program must be seamless, providing sufficient and easy-to-access payments to workers, and those payments must cover all circumstances in which workers need to protect themselves from COVID-19. This includes paid time off from work when they are sick or exposed, or when they need to get tested for or vaccinated against COVID-19.
The program must be funded by the provincial government with no burden falling on the backs of our struggling small business owners who have already endured so much.
The Science Advisory Table must endorse the program in writing. People have lost trust and confidence in Ford’s leadership, but the women and men who serve on the Science Advisory Table have unimpeachable credibility and their expertise must be relied upon in this critical moment.
It should have never taken this long but we will wait to see what he puts forward, and whether it meets those standards. Either way, the dithering and delaying will go down as an unforgivable failure of Doug Ford’s leadership.”