Fight the virus where it’s happening, and guarantee paid sick days for all!
Publish date: Wednesday, April 07, 2021 news
At the end of January, I published a piece calling on the Ontario government to implement paid sick days for all Ontarians. Mine was far from the only voice issuing this call, but despite repeated and widespread criticism, the provincial government has continued to refuse to take this necessary step in curbing COVID-19 infection.
Since that piece was published, Ontario has been enveloped by the third wave of the pandemic, with increasing rates of infection from deadlier and more highly transmissible variants. Now 367,602 Ontarians have been infected with COVID-19. The province is also seeing a record number of patients in intensive care units. 7,458 Ontarians have lost their lives.
Data shows Ontarians are largely getting sick at work—especially those working in factories, warehouses, and construction sites. Over 150 ICU doctors have signed a letter pointing out that workers with higher levels of exposure, many of whom are members of lower income and racialized communities and do not have access to paid sick days, are bearing the brunt of the impact of this virus. These doctors are also calling on the government to implement new public health interventions immediately, as ICUs are reaching their breaking point.
The government knows where virus spread is happening, and they’re not doing enough to fight it there.
I’ve worked in emergency health services for most of my career—I know how difficult front-line healthcare can be. So, to see paramedics, nurses, and doctors, who have been waging a war against this virus for well over a year, forced to plead for the well-being of their patients and the population as a whole is infuriating.
And so, I reiterate my call to the government to implement paid sick days, and I join the chorus of voices calling for an update to the vaccine eligibility plan that focuses on essential workers and those living in COVID-19 hotspots.
Ontario needs to step up and implement these measures to protect its workers immediately; we can't afford to debate or delay when lives are at stake.
The time to act is now.
President & CEO
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).