Send a message: 10 permanent paid sick days now!
During the pandemic, Premier Doug Ford’s Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB) reimbursed employers for up to three sick days per worker – but only for COVID-related conditions. This program is far from what workers need because they are:
- temporary and expire on March 31, 2023
- only available for COVID-related absences
- And a maximum of only 3 days for the entire duration of the pandemic.
So far, at least 450,000 workers have accessed this program and we are glad that nearly half a million workers have been able to get some financial support for COVID-related issues. But these workers still have no protection for any other illnesses and if they’ve used up their 3 days for COVID, they have nothing for any future COVID issues, including vaccinations.
And unlike every other jurisdiction where employer-paid sick days are the norm and result in savings for both employers and taxpayers, Premier Doug Ford’s WIPB scheme has transferred a staggering $189 million of public funds to private corporations.
That’s because, under the WIPB, there’s nothing to stop companies like Loblaws, Amazon, and McDonalds from billing the government for up to three days whenever an employee takes time off for COVID -- whether they replace that worker or not!
To add insult to injury, companies that were already providing employees with more than 3 paid sick days are ineligible for the WIPB. So, the Ford government is actually rewarding bad bosses who refuse to provide paid sick days even in the face of a global pandemic.
And finally, by contracting out the administration of WIPB, Ford has handed a whopping $43.7 million to Deloitte -- one of the largest private consultancy firms in the world. UK-based, multi-million dollar private consultancy firm Deloitte. This is in addition to the $189 million in claims.
As a result, Premier Ford has turned a life-saving and cost-saving public health measure into yet another subsidy for profitable corporations. In fact, Doug Ford’s WIPB scheme has siphoned $232.7 million away from the public services we depend on and funneled them into private profits.
What we need is the opposite. Done right, paid sick days save everyone money: workers, employers, and our public health care system.
That’s why health providers and public health experts are calling on the government to enact meaningful legislation that ensures paid sick days will be:
- Adequate - 10 days minimum with additional 14 days during public health emergencies every year
Let’s be clear: 42% of workers already have employer-paid sick days. The 58% of those who don’t are more likely to be low-wage, part-time, frontline workers. And because of racism in the labour market, Black workers, racialized workers, newcomers, and all those facing discrimination have the least access to employer-paid sick days.
We know that decent work and wages are the foundation of a strong public health care system. Denying workers paid sick days and redirecting public money into private profit only adds to the unfolding crisis in healthcare.
The overwhelming majority of Ontarians support paid sick days. But in order to turn this sentiment into a movement strong enough to make Premier Ford do the right thing, we need to get organized.
Send a message to Premier Doug Ford, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, Health Minister Sylvia Jones, and your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP).