As the crisis that ensued from the pandemic continues, there’s another one that’s raging- unavailability of paid sick days. Workers, unions, advocates, small business owners, and health experts are all united in their calls on provincial governments to act responsibly and finally take all precautions to protect public health; implement paid sick days. Yet, despite a yearlong lobby effort, no action has been taken.
The pandemic has plagued our communities for a year now, and provinces are struggling to keep infection rates down as new variants become known. Many of major outbreaks have been in workplaces with poor health and safety policies, and those workplaces where paid sick days are not available. In the last year, it has become an irrefutable fact that workplace exposure is known to be a major contributor to community spread.
It’s a simple premise, and a simple solution; allowing people to stay home when they’re sick, ensures those they come into contact with, on public transit, on the street and at work are protected against the virus.
As our communities and workers struggle through another wave of the pandemic, and the recovery becomes more tenuous, all efforts must be taken to protect our communities. The very last and essential effort are mandated sick days.
In a sea of united voices that demand paid sick days for everyone, how much longer will these voices be ignored, how many more people will get sick, and how many more will die, before provincial governments use the money that’s available to them and do the right thing: mandate paid sick days!