Today, the Region of Peel launched a public campaign asking residents to add their voice to the call for the provincial and federal governments to provide paid sick leave.
Peel’s incidence rate and per cent positivity has consistently been one of the highest in Ontario through much of the second wave. Of the confirmed community outbreaks in Peel reported between September and December 2020, 66 per cent have occurred in workplaces.
“Reducing COVID-19 transmission among workers will also help limit household transmission, which is often the result of introduction from a workplace exposure,” the Region said in a statement issued on Thursday. “This has the potential to effectively reduce the trend of high COVID-19 transmission.”
An analysis of Peel cases reported since August 1, 2020 found that of 9,000 COVID-19 cases who worked at a community workplace, approximately one fifth, or 1,993 cases, reported working while symptomatic.
“Insufficient paid sick days, financial/income supports, and sick leave protection are known barriers to compliance to COVID-19 control measures, including testing and self-isolation,” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health. “Paid sick day supports for workers who have COVID-19 or need to isolate because they may have been exposed to the virus will help support workers to follow public health guidance and support our essential businesses to operate safely, reducing community transmission of COVID-19.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown have also been advocating for paid sick leave.
Last week Mississauga City Council approved a motion raised by Crombie to request the provincial and federal governments for paid sick leave for workers.
A copy of the resolution would be sent to Mississauga-area MPs and MPPs for their awareness and active support and to all Greater Toronto and Hamilton municipalities, as well as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
Now the Region of Peel Council is calling on the federal and provincial governments to provide paid sick leave benefits in Ontario immediately.
“Given the urgency of the current state of the pandemic, we cannot afford to wait to do more to prevent the spread of the virus in our community. We encourage residents to join the call on the federal and provincial governments to move forward to implement paid sick leave benefits, which are necessary to protect some of our most vulnerable workers,” said Nando Iannicca, Regional Chair, Region of Peel.
Residents in Peel are encouraged to visit peelregion.ca/paid-sick-leave where they can email their local MP and/or MPP and join the call for paid sick leave in Peel.