Canadian workers to political leaders: it’s high time for paid sick leave

August 20, 2021

Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Bea Bruske welcomes the Liberal party’s election commitment to introduce 10 paid days of sick leave for workers falling under federal jurisdiction. Canada’s unions have been calling for paid sick leave from the earliest days of the pandemic.

“Access to paid sick days reduces the spread of COVID and helps workers who keep our economy going stay safe,” said Bruske. “Workers have now suffered through four waves of this pandemic. It’s long past time political parties support paid sick leave for all workers.”

Alongside vaccination against COVID-19, enhanced indoor ventilation, physical distancing, mask requirements, and personal protective equipment, paid sick leave is essential to containing and defeating the virus.

“Workers without paid leave protections have sometimes faced a terrible choice: go to work while ill, at the risk of infecting others, or stay home and lose pay or even their job. In a pandemic, no one should have ever been faced with this dilemma,” said Bruske. Workers must be confident that they won’t suffer reprisal if they’re too ill to come to work. And that requires legislating paid sick days as a universal right.”

Ten paid sick days would place the federal jurisdiction ahead of all provincial and territorial standards in Canada. Canada’s unions are calling on all political parties to commit to this basic labour right and are urging all jurisdictions across the country to follow suit.

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