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Open letter calling on the Ontario government to mandate paid sick leave

Paid sick leave is essential to protect workers and communities from COVID-19. At a time when public health experts, medical professionals and politicians urge us daily to stay home — paid sick days save lives. 

Yet across the country, around 90% of low-income workers don't have access to paid sick leave. They are the workers who care for our seniors, prepare our food, and package our online orders — and the pandemic taught us they are essential. They are also disproportionately women, Black, Indigenous and other racialized workers. But when they get sick, they have to make the impossible decision to go to work and risk spreading the virus, or stay home and struggle to put food on the table.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a significant gap in the province’s employment standards. We, the undersigned, call on the Ontario government to immediately close this gap and legislate 7 permanent paid sick days, plus an additional 14 days for public health emergencies — to ensure Ontarians can stay home to save lives.

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