Ottawa talking to provinces to push for 10 days sick leaves for workers: PM Trudeau

In today’s national address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that as Canada enters the “recovery phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is pushing provinces to approve 10-day paid sick leaves for those who need it.

The proposition for these paid sick leaves was demanded by the NDP as a tradeoff for the Liberal Party’s decision to suspend the House of Commons during the pandemic.

“Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills,” Trudeau said during his address.

“That’s why the government will continue discussions with the provinces, without delay, on ensuring that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, every worker in Canada who needs it has access to ten days of paid sick leave a year.”

The prime minister also said the government will also consider other mechanisms for longer-term sick leave support.

He said that British Columbia Premier John Horgan first brought up this issue a few weeks ago while on a call with all premiers and raised the concern about the coming fall flu season, whether people would be able to stay home without economic impact should they develop COVID-19-like symptoms. Anyone concerned about their health during their time off work can go get a test.

Prime minister Trudeau said thinking about new measures like paid sick leave- which is offered in some workplaces but not all – will be “essential” to control further COVID-19 spread.

Shortly after Trudeau’s statement on sick leaves, the NDP party and their leader Jagmeet Singh sent out a statement proclaiming victory for Canadian workers.

“As more and more businesses are being asked to open, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh secured two weeks of paid sick leave for every worker in Canada by pushing the federal government to act,” according to the posted statement.

Even though the provinces are responsible for the mechanisms to implement a sick leave program, but Prime Minister Trudeau pointed to other joint federal-provincial COVID-19 relief measures that have been agreed to as examples of how it can be done, such as the commercial rent relief program which launched today, May 25.

Commercial Rent Assistance Program launched 

Beginning today, Canadian landlords will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA).

The program will see property owners reduce the rent by 75 per cent for April and May, and then June for the small business tenants. The CECRA will account for 50 per cent of the overall rent cost, and tenants will only have to pay up to 25 per cent. The property owner will have to forgive 25 per cent.

“This program will help property owners, small businesses, workers, and our communities make it through this difficult time,” Trudeau said about the CECRA.

“Small businesses are the backbone of this country. We need to be there to support them when it matters most”.

The CECRA is designated to small business tenants that are paying less than $50,000 a month for rent, an annual revenue below $2 million, and have seen a 70 per cent drop in revenue due to COVID-19.

CECRA is also available for non-profit and charity organizations.

Applications for the program will be available through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website.

A schedule for when owners should apply has been released as well.

Here are the details for that schedule.

Monday, May 25: Property owners located in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec, who have up to 10 tenants that are eligible for the program.

Tuesday, May 26: Owners located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Territories, who have up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program.

Wednesday, May 27: All other property owners located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Territories.

Thursday, May 28: All other property owners located in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec.

Friday, May 29: All property owners in Canada.

COVID-19 Stats in Canada as of May 25

Total cases: 85,698

New cases today: 999

Recoveries: 44,593

Deaths: 6,541

Active cases: 34,564

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