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Pressure building on Ottawa, Queen’s Park to improve COVID sick leave

 

Pressure building on Ottawa, Queen’s Park to improve COVID sick leave

Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton are calling on Premier Doug Ford and Ottawa to improve the current federal Sick Leave program which has seen only 27 percent uptake. But the mayor’s and chairs appear to be suggesting that employers bear the burden initially and then claim it back from Ottawa. In a statement Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said, “We urge the province to establish mandated sick pay as an emergency benefit measure that would require all employers provide sick pay for the required 14-day isolation period for employees who test positive for the virus. We need to eliminate the barriers that discourage people from staying home, such as financial factors, and mandated sick pay is an important way we can do that.”

Ford rules out Ontario-only sick leave plan

At his news conference today, Premier Doug Ford said he was in talks with Ottawa to make the federal program more attractive, probably by raising the weekly amount paid to workers, which currently works out to about $450 after taxes. He said he would not consider an Ontario program as long as there was close to a billion

Vaccine shortage

The Mayors and Chairs also discussed their concerns with the supply of vaccine and the implications it could have on the vaccine rollout. While, the vaccine supply is ultimately up to the federal government, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are committed to doing everything to support the other levels of government to ensure a timely immunization rollout.

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