TORONTO -- An online fundraiser launched over the weekend aims to provide support for essential workers in Ontario who need time off due to COVID-19 and don't have paid sick leave.

Organizers say the fund will pay out $160 per day for up to five days to those who need it, distributed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as money is available.

They say the program operates on the honour system, trusting that only essential workers in financial need will apply.

The fundraiser website says the project was launched by three women, two of them registered nurses.

As of Monday morning, the fundraiser had collected nearly $20,000 of its $80,000 goal.

The Ontario government has faced mounting calls during the pandemic to implement paid sick leave.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2020.