Ontario Green Party leader calls for 10-day isolation period, paid sick days to protect frontline workers

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Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is calling on the Ford government to reinstitute the 10-day COVID-19 isolation period and provide the same number of paid sick days to protect essential workers and reduce community spread.

“Ontario should return to a 10 day COVID-19 isolation period to protect frontline workers,” Schreiner said in a media statement. “Reducing it was a premature move by Ford.”

Schreiner referred to experts and recent studies which show that the Omicron variant can be infectious for 10 days like other variants of COVID-19 to back his request.

“Leading experts like Dr. Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, are clear that a 5 day isolation period will increase the risk of outbreak at workplaces, which would only make staffing shortages worse,” he stated.

“The challenge is that workers could be forced back to work after 5 days while they still may be contagious — especially given the inaccessibility to testing. With reduced isolation periods, testing and tracing and N95 masks become more crucial,” he said.

He accused Ford of “doing the opposite by cutting access to testing and dragging his heels on getting N95 masks to frontline workers and students”.

The provincial Green Party leader said that the Ford government needs to do everything possible to protect workers as Ontario starts to reopen. Which means providing 10 fully funded paid sick days so workers don’t have to choose between their health and their paycheque, and increasing the isolation period back to 10 days.

“This is vital to reduce pressure on our healthcare system and avoid future lockdowns,” Shreiner said.

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