Ontario to get rid of temporary paid sick days, lift some COVID measures in LTC homes
Ontario will soon end its temporary paid sick day program, The Canadian Press has learned.
The program that provided three paid sick days to workers during the pandemic will expire at the end of the month, two senior government sources said Wednesday.
The sources said it will not be replaced with another program, but they said the Progressive Conservative government will continue moving forward with its plan to provide portable health and dental coverage to workers without paid sick days.
That portable benefits program is intended to cover workers in the gig economy, retail and hospitality jobs who don't have benefits, and accommodate people who may change careers throughout their lives.
The sources were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details of Thursday's budget, which will mention the end of the sick day program.
NDP Leader Marit Stiles said her party was pushing for 10 guaranteed paid sick days for all Ontarians.
"(Premier Doug) Ford's Conservative government is no friend to Ontario workers," she wrote on Twitter. "People should never be forced to go to work sick just to put food on the table."
Ford's government first announced the temporary sick leave plan in the spring of 2021 after facing growing calls to bring in such a policy to minimize workplace spread of COVID-19.
Under the program, employers are reimbursed by the government for the paid leave days. Eligible workers can receive up to $200 per day for up to three days for pandemic-related absences like testing, vaccination, isolation or caring for relatives who are ill with COVID-19.
Ontario's labour minister said this week that the program has served more than 500,000 workers.
The government also said Wednesday that it is planning to lift some COVID-19 restrictions in long-term care homes beginning March 31.
The province said high vaccination rates among nursing home residents and staff have led the chief medical officer of health to begin easing some measures in a phased approach, starting at the end of the month.
Long-term care homes will still be required to monitor residents daily for infection.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore thanked Ontarians for their sacrifices over the past three years.
"Thanks to their continued efforts, Ontario has reached a point where it can begin a safe, cautious and balanced reduction of public health measures in long-term care homes across the province," he wrote in a statement.
"The health and safety of residents remains paramount, and we will continue to work with the sector to ensure residents and their families receive the level of care they need and deserve, in a safe and comfortable environment."
Beginning at the end of the month, testing will no longer be required for long-term care staff, caregivers and visitors who do not show symptoms.
The province said masking outdoors for residents, caregivers and visitors will no longer be recommended, but that recommendation will stand for staff who will be close to a resident outside.
Screening residents and temperature checks will also no longer required by the homes, the province said.
The province said it will also remove the cap on one caregiver at a time during a COVID-19 outbreak. Social activities will also be held without physical distancing.
The province is also encouraging homes that have retained vaccination passport requirements to revisit those policies and consider allowing visitors and staff inside regardless of their vaccination status.
Provincial data shows 5,335 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit Ontario in early 2020. Thirteen long-term care home health-care workers have also died over that time frame.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2023.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Travellers from 13 more countries now eligible to visit Canada without a visa
Canada is expanding the list of countries whose residents are eligible to visit this country without a travel visa.
Johnston to launch foreign interference hearings in July, calls allegations of bias 'quite simply false'
Canada's special rapporteur on foreign interference David Johnston calls the allegations swirling around his objectivity 'quite simply false,' and said Tuesday he plans to push ahead with his work, launching public hearings next month
'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure': Experts say a national fire service could help battle wildfires
During a record-setting wildfire season, experts say prevention of more disasters is important, citing a Canada-wide fire service could help mitigate blazes.
Environment minister says he could accelerate action on climate change if he didn’t have to 'fight' the Conservative Party
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told Power Play host Vassy Kapelos it would 'greatly help' Canada's capacity to accelerate the fight against climate change if he didn't have to 'fight the Conservative Party of Canada.'
Sex harassment case involving Trudeau Foundation should be heard in N.L., lawyer says
The lawyer representing a woman who alleges she was sexually harassed by a former Northwest Territories premier says her client would likely have to end her lawsuit if a judge determines the trial should be moved to Quebec.
Ford calls for ouster, Poilievre decries Liberal response to Bernardo prison transfer
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling on the Liberals to keep "multiple murderers" in maximum-security prison, as fallout continues over the transfer of convicted killer Paul Bernardo to a medium-security institution in Quebec.
Canadian military joined recent U.S. forum on UFOs; Pentagon trying to identify 'metallic' orbs
The Canadian military has confirmed it participated in a May 2023 forum for Five Eyes intelligence partners that was held by the director of the Pentagon's UFO research program.
Global News defends reporting in face of Han Dong lawsuit
Global News and its parent company Corus Entertainment say in response to a lawsuit filed by Han Dong that their reporting about the Toronto MP was based on a detailed investigation involving multiple sources.
A killer rabbit, jousting bear and Robin Hood walk into a bar: Ancient manuscript reveals new details on medieval comedy
A rare manuscript detailing comedy shows and drinking songs from the 15th century revealed what medieval audiences found funny more than 500 years ago.
Quebec wildfires: Town of Chibougamau declares state of emergency, orders immediate evacuation
The entire town of Chibougamau, in central Quebec, was told to evacuate Tuesday evening as wildfires prompted officials to declare a state of emergency.
Quebec politicians pass bill that will give themselves a $30K raise
Quebec MNAs are about to get a significant pay raise. The National Assembly adopted Bill 24 on Tuesday afternoon, which will increase the politicians' base salaries by $30,000 per year.
'A situation that's unprecedented': Quebec confronted with more than 150 wildfires
As one Quebec city that had been threatened by wildfires lifted an evacuation order Tuesday, authorities turned their attention to communities in the northern and northwestern parts of the province where firefighters worked to beat back threats from out-of-control blazes.
VIDEO | Londoners remember the Afzaal family
Marking the two year anniversary of the alleged terror attack that took the lives of four members of the same family, the board has announced an Anti-Islamophobia Strategy.
VIDEO | Muslim community seeks healing and safety amid lingering shadows of alleged terrorist attack
On this day in 2021, four out of five members of a London, Ont. family were killed while they were out for a walk and struck by a vehicle, in an apparently deliberate attack.
Special air quality statement in effect for Forest City
As wildfires continue to burn in Northern Ontario and Quebec, a special air quality statement has been issued for London and neighbouring counties as of Tuesday evening.
Wildfire smoke from Quebec, northern Ontario lingers in K-W
A haze is lingering in the air and there’s a faint smell of smoke in areas across southwestern Ontario as wildfires continue to burn in Quebec and northern Ontario.
Trustee brings school board to court over temporary suspension for alleged breach of conduct
A trustee with the Waterloo Region District School Board brought the board to court on Tuesday, arguing that a suspension handed to him in 2022 was unfair and unreasonable.
OPP turn to Six Nations residence in search for Amber Ellis
The search for Amber Ellis, a Hagersville woman reported missing in March 2021, is returning to the community where she was last seen.
Emergency orders expanded in northeast Ont. due to forest fires
While firefighters get more forest fires under control in northern Ontario, travel restrictions declared under an emergency order are being expanded in several communities.
Northern Ont. teen, 13, facing new sexual assault charge, 10 total
A 13-year-old male from Elliot Lake in northern Ontario has been charged with sexual assault again, bringing the total to 10, after another survivor came forward.
3 people attacked by dog in Burlington, animal shot dead by police
A dog has been shot dead by police after three people were attacked in Burlington Tuesday afternoon, police say.
Air quality risk in Ottawa high as wildfire smoke blankets the city
A special air quality statement remains in effect for the National Capital Region because of wildfire smoke blowing across the region. Environment Canada's air quality health index is at a high level of risk.
How to take care of yourself and your pets in smoky conditions
The wildfire smoke blanketing Ottawa can cause a variety of health problems for people and animals. Ottawa has already seen an increase in emergency room visits for respiratory issues as thick smoke hangs over the region.
Centennial Lake fire 'greatly suppressed', area mayor says; evacuation order still in effect
The wildfire burning at Centennial Lake, about 150 km west of Ottawa, has been significantly reduced and is being held with a burnt area.
Active police investigation on Northway Ave
Windsor police are on the scene of an active investigation near a new housing development in the city’s west end.
Estranged husband charged with first-degree murder of missing woman
Windsor police say they have arrested a Michigan man for the murder of his estranged wife, who was reported missing last month.
Windsor's air quality impacted by wildfires across the country
Smoke from wildfires burning across Canada is beginning to cause poor air quality in Windsor.
No injuries after potential firearm-related incident in Innisfil
No injuries were reported after an incident in Innisfil Tuesday evening.
Air quality concerns mount as the smell of smoke fills the air in Simcoe County and Muskoka
Residents in Simcoe County and Muskoka are advised to be cautious as forest fires in Quebec impact the air quality, prompting a special statement from Environment Canada.
YMCA teams up with County to help Ukrainian refugees find permanent housing
The YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka is continuing its efforts to provide support to Ukrainian refugees looking for permanent housing in Simcoe County.
Barrington Lake wildfire 'being held,' not expected to move weather permitting
A record-size wildfire in Shelburne County, N.S., isn’t likely to move if conditions don't change, officials say.
New N.S. Health website shares estimated ER wait times
A new website created by Nova Scotia’s health authority shares hourly estimated wait times for many emergency departments across the province.
'They lost everything': Halifax evacuees grapple with new normal
Officials gave the outside world its first look inside the destruction from the Halifax-area wildfires Tuesday.
Proposal to increase number of city councillors in Calgary stalls out, but will see further consideration
Tuesday night, councillors debated a proposal that could have seen their numbers grow by as many as six before the end of the decade.
Expected hot, dry summer means more fire, smoke coming to Alberta
As the definition of a typical Canadian summer evolves, experts say 'hot' and 'dry' could be the buzzwords of the season.
Calgary's Ukrainian community holds rally in response to dam destruction
Calgary's Ukrainian community held an emergency rally on Tuesday night in response to the destruction of a dam in southern Ukraine.
Religious teachings at St. James school to be allowed next year following vote by board of trustees
Some students at an elementary school in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division will be receiving 30 minutes of religious teaching next year after the board of trustees passed a bylaw Tuesday evening.
RCMP investigating abandoned home in connection with disappearance of woman in 2020
The search for a Manitoba woman reported missing three years ago has lead RCMP to an abandoned home in western Manitoba for an investigation.
'Something we need to prepare for': ECCC says warm summer expected in Winnipeg
The heat in the city of Winnipeg will moderate in the next few days, but Environment Canada says residents should expect a hot summer this year.
B.C. prepares for fire evacuations, displacements amid healthcare staffing crisis
The officials tasked with preparing for and responding to natural disasters in the province are bracing for widespread evacuations of B.C. communities amid tinder-dry conditions that are already prompting dire wildfire predictions.
Drinking alcohol will be allowed in some Burnaby parks this summer
Visitors will be able to legally drink booze in some Burnaby parks starting June 23, as city councillors voted in favour of an alcohol in parks pilot project on Monday.
Vancouver lifeguard shortage not to blame for reduced West End pool hours, park board says
The chair of the Vancouver Park Board says he has received several complaints since expanded hours at Second Beach Pool went away.
'We never give up': RCMP helicopter joins search for 14-year-old boy in North Saskatchewan River
An RCMP helicopter is assisting with the search for the 14-year-old boy who went missing in the North Saskatchewan River nearly 48 hours ago.
Michael White, convicted of killing pregnant wife, gets full parole
An Edmonton man convicted of killing his pregnant wife and dumping her body in a ditch has been granted full parole.
'Exciting to see him in person': Alphonso Davies hosts soccer camp in Edmonton
Edmontonian and Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies held a soccer camp for children at Victoria Soccer Club on Tuesday.