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ETFO calls on all MPPs to support MPP Peggy Sattler’s Stay At Home If You Are Sick Act

February 16, 2021

TORONTO—The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is urging all Members of Provincial Parliament to support Bill 239, Stay At Home If You Are Sick Act. This Private Member’s Bill would implement seven permanent sick days per year for all Ontario workers, and an additional 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies, like the one Ontario is currently experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This framework provides critical paid sick leave to all Ontario workers, during the pandemic and beyond.

“Everyone knows that paid sick days saves lives. For months, public health experts have been calling for paid sick leave to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” says ETFO President Sam Hammond. “The lack of access to paid sick leave and paid emergency leave has been identified by public health experts as a major gap in the pandemic response in Ontario. Yet, despite repeated calls from workers, medical experts, unions and the public at large, the Ford government has refused to implement this live-saving measure.”

To date, Bill 239 has received widespread support from a growing list of organizations representing workers, employers, and public health experts, including the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the Association of Local Public Health Agencies. It is time for the Ford government to listen and to take immediate action to help save lives.

With students and educators now back to in-person learning across the province, the need for paid sick days is higher than ever. Currently, some educators, including occasional teachers and casual education workers, do not have access to paid sick leave. Ontario workers need to be able to stay home if they are sick or to take care of children who are ill, without worrying about whether they will be able to put food on the table. 

Notes Hammond, “Repeatedly, we have heard Premier Ford tell people to stay home if they are sick, but not provide the income protection they need to do so. Families are having to make difficult choices between survival and risking the spread of COVID-19. As the danger of a third wave is upon us, triggered by more infectious variants of concern, the government must protect students, educators and other front-line workers. Passing Bill 239 is just one of the measures needed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca

For more information, contact Carla Pereira, ETFO Media Relations, 416-576-9074, cpereira@etfo.org.