TORONTO – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca issued the following statement:
“Today’s half-hearted attempt at a paid sick leave program is an abandonment of workers. It’s been a week since his apology and 412 days since my first letter on paid sick leave, and what Doug Ford came up with is a failure. In the last week alone, more than 20,000 people have gotten sick and 159 have died while we waited for some form of action.
I don’t understand why Doug Ford arbitrarily picked September as an end to this program instead of the end of the pandemic, as defined by the Science Table. I also don’t understand how he could think 3 days is enough time, when he himself has been in isolation for more than a week after testing negative.
Doug Ford’s program abandons our workers and is an attempt to salvage his own career instead of saving the lives of our essential workers who are begging for this security. He needs to resign for his total failure to lead this province through a crisis.”
Ontario Liberals proposed the following standards, which haven’t been met:
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.