Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca is enlisting the support of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, to support a private member’s bill to implement paid sick days in Ontario. Premier Ford has resisted an Ontario sick days plan, arguing that the Federal Government has established a sick day fund of over a billion dollars that has largely not been utilized. Ford has said he wants to negotiate changes to the federal bill that would make it more attractive, including raising the weekly limit from $500. The text of the Del Duca letter to Horwath and Schreiner follows
Paid sick days for Ontario workers are an urgent crisis and are critical if we are to succeed in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
For months now, we have all demanded that Doug Ford step-up and deliver a provincially funded program or sick days – extending financial security to vulnerable workers who are ill and need to stay home, while also ensuring we don’t put any new burdens on small business owners and employers.
I know that every resident in our province wants to do what they can to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Sadly, too many have been put in an impossible situation and have been forced to choose between their health and supporting themselves and their families. In a province as prosperous as ours, especially during a crisis, no one should have to make this choice.
On February 16th, Ontario Liberal MPP Michael Coteau will introduce a Private Members’ Bill in the Legislature to give workers ten provincially funded sick days. I ask that you each consider selecting a representative from your respective Parties to work with Mr. Coteau to co-sponsor the legislation so that we can get this bill implemented immediately.
As you both know, Ontario Liberals made paid sick leave a reality for Ontario workers in 2018, only to have it slashed later that year by Doug Ford. At the time, you both stood united with Ontario Liberals against that attack on the rights of workers.
I know that you have also both urged Doug Ford to do the right thing and make sick days happen – as have public health experts, municipal leaders and a wide array of advocates. In fact, rarely have we witnessed the kind of broad consensus that has emerged on this issue, and I believe that we have to do more to make it happen.
Even though, for reasons beyond comprehension, Doug Ford stubbornly and callously refuses to do the right thing.
I believe that the people of Ontario expect their political leaders to put partisanship aside and work together to produce positive results whenever possible, particularly in challenging moments. Surely, this is one of those times, and I am prepared to collaborate with you to do what needs to be done.
My office will reach out so that we can discuss this urgent matter and I look forward to hearing back from you.