Ontario announces paid sick leave program to curb COVID-19 transmission

DM

Under pressure, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has announced it will deliver its own paid sick leave program to help curb the spread of COVID-19 transmission in essential workplaces. Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton and Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy announced the program, dubbed the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit, on Wednesday. If passed, the legislation will require employers to pay workers up to $200 per day for up to three days if they are feeling sick or need to get vaccinated. McNaughton said the program will not require sick notes and workers will not have to fill out any forms or applications. Instead, he said, the employer will pay the employee out of pocket and will be reimbursed by the province through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). As well, the government says it is continuing to work with Ottawa to “double up” payments of the federally-mandated Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) from $500 to $1,000 per week before taxes, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet agreed to.

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