Ontario officially approves paid sick day program, opposition calls it 'pitifully inadequate'
TORONTO -- The Ontario legislature has officially approved new legislation that will give employees three days of paid emergency leave during COVID-19.
The bill was tabled by Labour Minister Monte McNaughton this morning and quickly passed through the legislative process with the support of opposition politicians at Queen's Park.
The legislation will give employees three paid days of emergency leave, which McNaughton said could be claimed for a variety of reasons related to COVID-19, including signs of illness, to receive a test, to case for an ill child or to receive a vaccine.
While businesses will be expected to foot the upfront costs of the program, the government said it will reimburse business owners up to $200 per day, per employee through the Workplace Safety Insurance Board.
McNaughton called it "the most comprehensive plan in the entire country."
While opposition parties supported the legislation, they also called on the government to increase the support to a minimum of ten days, citing the advice of public health experts.
"The length of time it takes for an individual to get tested, to get in the clear, to potentially isolate, all of this is how we landed on the number 10," said Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the bill is a "pitifully inadequate" solution to address the issues faced by frontline workers on a daily basis.