Paid sick days must be done right. And they fall under provincial standards. The exception is the federal labour code that applies to federally regulated workplaces. Our federal government needs to set the standard of ten paid sick days by amending the federal code/regulations, and the provinces must follow suit. These paid sick days must be employer-provided and not subsidized by taxpayers.
Major corporate retailers can afford to pay as we watch their profits skyrocket pandemic or not. They have no issues paying their CEOs and board members with substantial cash bonuses. Why is giving their workers paid sick days so difficult to do?
Taxpayers are currently footing the bill for millions of dollars to bail businesses out with a number of different funds. Looking to help those who need help is okay, but it is unrealistic for the government to keep using tax dollars to keep doing it.
Taxpayers should not be bailing out profitable corporations, but that is what we see proposed in Ontario with its 3-day sick leave plan which is inadequate for workers and unfair to taxpayers. Employers should pay for sick leave, and if they really need help, they must be required to prove they need that help. It’s time for the federal government to demand financial proof from businesses before they hand out cash. It’s time to modernize provincial labour standards and the federal labour code to provide at least 10 paid sick days, and in a pandemic, sick leave for isolation time, and paid time off to get vaccinated. A real solution is badly needed because another pandemic will likely occur, and we need to be prepared to cope with it.
Danny Cavanagh is president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour
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