Doug Ford’s office has decided to do a little fact-checking on NDP leader Andrea Horwath who has been calling for paid sick leave for employees who get COVID. Those in favour of paid sick leave say that without it, people are going to work sick and avoiding COVID testing because they cannot afford time off.
In response to a question by a reporter yesterday Ford said the Federal Government has a paid sick leave plan with over a billion dollars available and less that 30 percent of the fund has been subscribed. Ford urged the Prime Minister to do what is necessary to make the plan more accessible, including increasing the weekly payout from the current $500 per week.
Things culminated today with an event Horwath had staged with a health care worker seeking validation the NDP leader’s position on sick days. Fords office issued this rebuttal, first, a transcript of the Horwath conversation with the health care worker, and then a comment.
At his news conference yesterday, Ford said if the federal program is insufficient, Ottawa, not the province, should be topping it up.
“We’re having conversations … over the last little while with the federal government, maybe to change (the benefit) if people don’t feel they’re getting it quick enough, which I’ve brought to the attention of the prime minister and deputy prime minister,” Ford said.
“If they need to top it up a little more because $500 a week isn’t feasible, then we change it,” he said. “But let’s be very very clear: There’s no reason for the province to jump in there.”
The GTH Mayors have also joined the list of groups asking for paid sick leave. Their suggestion was to make it mandatory for employers to grant the sick days, and to allow them to tap into the federal fund for reimbursement.