QUEEN’S PARK – As the third wave worsens and ICUs are being overrun, MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) pressed the Ford government during question period Monday for paid sick leave to stop the spread of the COVID-19 variant and to save lives now.
“Variants are getting out of control leading to more, and younger, essential workers needing hospitalization and dying from COVID-19,” said Gretzky. “Public health experts, nurses, doctors, business owners, mayors and city councillors, essential workers, those of us in the Official Opposition, and the government’s own Science Table, have pleaded with this government to pass paid sick day legislation, to save lives.
“Many essential workers are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque. Paid sick days will prevent workers from having to choose between paying rent, buying groceries for their family and going to work sick. Why won’t Doug Ford and his government do the responsible thing and immediately implement paid sick days for Ontario workers? Why do they feel it’s acceptable to let people get sick or die?”
The Ford government has had 23 opportunities to pass legislation for paid sick days for every worker in Ontario, yet at every opportunity the Ford government has refused to take action and implement paid sick days, said Gretzky.
Gretzky shared the story of an essential worker she spoke to with the legislature. “Birgit, an ICU nurse who works directly with COVID positive patients, said that she contracted COVID-19 in October. She and many frontline heroes don’t have paid sick days. Playing jurisdictional ping pong doesn’t help workers like Birgit,” said Gretzky. “This government could have brought in paid sick days for Birgit. Doug Ford could have saved lives months ago, could save lives tomorrow and in the months to come.”
Andrea Horwath and the NDP have a bill in the legislature which would give all Ontarians access to 14 government-paid sick days during a pandemic, to prevent COVID-19 from getting into workplaces.