Region of Waterloo Board of Health unanimously passed a motion yesterday to advocate to both the Province and the Government of Canada on the need for paid sick time to help address the ongoing spread of COVID-19, and the spread of other illnesses in the future.
“We know workplace outbreaks are a major obstacle in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “The current provincial and federal sick leave benefits are either unpaid or time restricted and that is unacceptable in a pandemic.”
“Those who don’t have access to paid sick time may be more likely to attend work when they have symptoms of COVID-19 or need to self-isolate,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health. “Research shows that access to paid sick time can help reduce the spread of influenza-like illnesses in the workplace.”
Regional Councillor Berry Vrbanovic proposed the motion saying, “data consistently shows that some of our most vulnerable citizens are susceptible to COVID-19, and are typically the least able to afford to stay home without pay if they fall ill - this needs to change.”
“Unpaid or limited sick day coverage, that might not cover recommended self-isolation days, puts some workers in a precarious financial situation,” said Geoff Lorentz, Regional Councillor who seconded the motion.
In addition to adding their voice to other jurisdictions calling for paid sick days, the Board of Health plans to send correspondence to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) and Mayor’s and Regional Chairs of Ontario (MARCO) as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its Big City Mayors’ Caucus, to press municipal elected officials to advocate with one voice on behalf of Ontario and Canadian municipal elected leaders.
Not a Subscriber?
Receive Exchange Magazine Monitor here