Removing workers’ right to two paid sick days and replacing them with unpaid emergency leave is “more progressive” for workers, Conservative MPPs said Thursday at a testy committee hearing for proposed new labour legislation.
Bill 47, which aims to undo numerous recently enacted measures including two paid sick days, equal pay for equal work, and a scheduled minimum wage bump to $15 in January, passed its second reading earlier this week and is now before the Finance and Economic Affairs committee.
Candace Rennick, secretary-treasurer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said the rollback “makes picking on the poor a government priority” and called it “bizarre” to make workers choose between losing a day’s pay and coming into work ill.
Ontario workers are currently entitled to two paid sick days and eight unpaid leave days. The government wants to give workers eight unpaid leave days instead — three for illness, three for family responsibilities, and two for bereavement leave.
“We’re hearing that it’s more progressive,” said Conservative MPP for Thornhill Gila Martow of the new proposals.
“We are offering a very progressive package of leave,” she said, adding most other Canadians provinces do not offer paid sick days.
Prince Edward Island is currently the only province with paid sick days provisions. Some 146 jurisdictions around the world offer some form of compensation when employees are ill.