Ford OKs Ottawa’s national sick day plan
Premier Doug Ford says he’s on board with Ottawa’s plan to mandate 10 days of paid sick leave across the country — a measure that will swallow up about $1.1 billion of the feds’ latest Covid restart package.
The program will be administered by Ottawa, not the provinces, and a senior government source confirmed to Queen’s Park Today it will not require any legislative amendments in Ontario, so long as it’s tied to a Covid-related work absence.
Ford suggested B.C.’s NDP premier, John Horgan, was the only first minister who piped up in favour of paid leave during negotiations with the federal government (Horgan led the charge with Manitoba’s Brian Pallister and Yukon’s Sandy Silver). “God bless him, he’s a great premier … but the rest of the premiers, we just haven’t been hearing about that,” Ford said.
“At the end of the day, if that’s what [the feds] want to do, that’s great,” the premier told reporters Monday.
One of the PC’s first actions after taking office in 2018 was to pass a bill reversing the former Liberal rulers’ two guaranteed paid sick days and allowing employers to demand doctor’s notes from workers who called in ill.
Green Leader Mike Schreiner is hoping Ford will also change his mind about the latter provision and permanently waive employers’ ability to ask employees to get a sick note.
The Tories scrapped the provision for people who need to take time off to self-isolate or quarantine amid the pandemic, but Schreiner says the end of the state of emergency on July 24 means employers can once again ask for doctor’s notes.
Schreiner said that won’t help guard against a second wave. “This pandemic should be all the evidence we need that every worker should be able to self-isolate without question and without risk of losing their job.”