KAWARTHA LAKES- The Lindsay + District Chamber of Commerce and Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the following joint statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s Paid Sick Day Program Proposal announced today:
“Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario is a step in the right direction to protect essential workers. Ontario is the only province that has committed to a paid sick day program during the pandemic. The proposed provincial top up to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is also encouraging but is contingent on federal government participation and does not address other shortcomings of the federal program, such as processing delays. We would like to see all levels of governments open to further adjustments of their programs – as they have been with other programs rolled out in the pandemic – to ensure programs meet the needs of workers and the market in Kawartha Lakes.
“Our position continues to be that businesses, particularly small businesses, simply cannot afford the additional financial responsibility to fund sick leave at this time, which is why the Lindsay + District Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce support the notion of a temporary paid sick day program that is paid for by government for the duration of the pandemic. Any paid sick day program must be fully and immediately accessible to workers who need it with a quick and seamless reimbursement for employers. When workers protect themselves, they protect their colleagues, their employers, and their communities.”
On Wednesday, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said the government would introduce legislation that would, if passed, require employers to provide employees with up to $200 of pay for up to three days if they are missing work because of COVID-19. This program will be retroactive to April 19, 2021 and effective until September 25, 2021, the date the CRSB will expire.
By providing time-limited access to three paid leave days, the province is ensuring employees can pay their bills as they help stop the spread of the virus, including by getting tested, waiting for their results in isolation or going to get their vaccine. The province will partner with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to deliver the program and reimburse employers up to $200 per day for each employee.
“Our government has long advocated for the federal government to enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit program to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers,” said Minister McNaughton. “It is a tremendously positive step that the federal government has signaled their willingness to continue discussions on the CRSB. Now we can fix the outstanding gap in the federal program so workers can get immediate support and can stay home when needed.”