- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning to give every Canadian worker 10 days of universal sick leave a year.
- Trudeau said a second wave of the coronavirus will likely hit in the winter, and that he wants people to take time off when they need it, rather than risk coming in to work.
- “Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work, due to illness, or being able to pay their bills,” he said Monday.
- Sick leave is currently decided at a provincial level. Trudeau said he is in discussions with provinces to bring in the measure.
- Most provinces allow three days of paid sick leave a year.
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Justin Trudeau said he wants to give working Canadians ten universal paid sick days a year.
The Canadian prime minister told a Monday press conference that a second wave of the coronavirus will most likely hit this winter, and that people should not have to work while ill to make ends meet when it does.
“Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work, due to illness, or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries,” he said.
Sick day provisions are currently decided at a provincial level.
Most Canadian provinces, including Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia, allow employees three days of paid sick leave a year.
Trudeau said on Monday that his government is in discussions with the provinces to ensure “every worker in Canada who needs it has access to ten days of sick leave a year.”
“When the fall comes and flu season starts up, we don’t want people who develop a sniffle to suddenly worry that while they really shouldn’t go into work, they can’t afford to not go into work, and therefore the risk of contributing to a wave significantly could be a real problem,” Trudeau said.
Last Thursday, the prime minister warned that a second wave of the coronavirus was likely on the way.
“One of the things we know is that in pandemics, there are usually second waves,” he told a press conference.
“The question that we’re very much focused on is that, as that second wave begins, or as we start to see resurgences in a reopened economy, how quickly are we able to contain them and control them?”
Dr. Sandy Buchman, the president of the Canadian Medical Association, told CTV News: “The second wave will come, but how acute it is or how large it rises so it doesn’t overwhelm our healthcare system needs to be considered.”
However, some experts have said that a second wave may more closely resemble a “second peak,” which will not match the intensity of the first wave.
As of Monday, Canada has seen 85,711 infections and 6,545 deaths from the coronavirus.
The sick-pay measure is a partial response to calls for universal sick pay from New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh.
“We need a commitment that the government is willing to provide paid sick leave for all Canadians,” Singh said on Monday.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party also need the NDP’s support to pass legislation extending the term of the COVID-19 Committee that replaced most parliamentary business when the crisis started.
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