Open letter from Del Duca presses Doug Ford to implement Ontario’s paid sick leave program now

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In an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the provincial Liberal leader Steven Del Duca outlined what he believes are the five key principles of a paid sick leave program that should be implemented right away.

“Every worker in Ontario, regardless of where they live and work, must be included in the program and must be eligible to access paid sick leave if needed,” Del Duca wrote.

“At a minimum, the program must be available to all Ontario workers until the Science Advisory Table has deemed that the pandemic has ended. It cannot be time-limited to
the current stay-at-home order. Once the threat of the pandemic has truly subsided, a wider discussion will need to take place regarding the reinstatement of permanent paid sick leave, which Ontario Liberals will continue to advocate for,” he said.

“The program must be seamless, providing sufficient and easy-to-access payments to workers, and those payments must cover all circumstances in which workers need to protect themselves from COVID-19. This includes paid time off from work when they are sick or exposed, or when they need to get tested for or vaccinated against COVID-19,” he added.

Del Duca also wants the program to “be funded by the provincial government with no burden falling on the backs of our struggling small business owners who have already endured so much”.

The provincial Liberal leader says that the Science Advisory Table must endorse the program in writing. “People have lost trust and confidence in your leadership, but the women and men who serve on the Science Advisory Table have unimpeachable credibility and their expertise must be relied upon in this critical moment,” the letter read.

Del Duca concluded the letter imploring Ford to do the right thing and to do it now!

“Please do the right thing and work with us to make paid sick leave happen. Lives are literally depending on you and your next move. Anything less than urgent action to create an effective paid sick leave program will be unacceptable to the people of Ontario, he said.

Pointing out that “four hundred and seven days have passed” since he first wrote to the premier about reinstating paid sick leave for Ontario’s workers, he said his party remained committed to working with the provincial government “around-the-clock if necessary”, to create an urgent and effective paid sick leave program for Ontario’s workers.

“I will never understand why you chose to ignore my request, and that of doctors, municipal leaders and public health experts who have all, consistently, made the same request, Del Duca wrote. “I listened carefully to the announcement you made yesterday. While I believe that your inaction on this matter to date is unforgiveable, I was encouraged to hear that you are now, belatedly, prepared to move forward with paid sick leave.”

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