Ontario’s paid sick day program is a step in the right direction

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New measures in Ontario address some – but not all – flaws in federal program

Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the following joint statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s Paid Sick Day Program Proposal announced today:

“Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario is a step in the right direction to protect essential workers. Ontario is the only province that has committed to a paid sick day program during the pandemic. The proposed provincial top up to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is also encouraging but is contingent on federal government participation and does not address other shortcomings of the federal program, such as processing delays. We would like to see all levels of governments open to further adjustments of their programs – as they have been with other programs rolled out in the pandemic – to ensure programs meets the needs of workers and the market in Sault Ste. Marie

“Our position continues to be that business, particularly small businesses, simply cannot afford the additional financial responsibility to fund sick leave at this time, which is why the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce support the notion of a temporary paid sick program that is paid for by government for the duration of the pandemic. Any paid sick day program must be fully and immediately accessible to workers who need it with a quick and seamless reimbursement for employers. When workers protect themselves, they protect their colleagues, their employers, and their communities.”