Ontario Launches COVID-19 Worker Protection Plan Including Paid Sick Days Until Late September

Ontario’s finance and labour ministers announced Wednesday the province is introducing a “Worker Protection Benefit” that will allow for qualified workers to receive three paid sick days for full-time and part-time positions.

As part of the plan through the Employment Standards Act, if passed, eligible workers will qualify for mental health days and will be able to stay home in order to care for relatives or family members sick with COVID-19.

Subject to federal government approval, this will raise the federal paid sick day program to $1,000 a week for four weeks. Payments will be administered through Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and introduce requirements that will grant people paid time off to receive a vaccine.

The program – retroactive to April 19 – will run until September 25, the same day the CRSB expires, and costs between $750 million and $1.5 billion. It will pay eligible workers up to $200 a day.

“Our government has long advocated for the federal government to enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers,” said Labour Minister Monte McNaughton.

The Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlanvalvy and Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton made the joint announcement one day after a spokeswoman for Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister said Ottawa will help when Ontario is ready to mandate a sick-leave program for provincially regulated businesses.

During today’s Question Period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will be helping provinces set up their own paid sick leave programs.

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