Amid growing fears related to the spread of the novel coronavirus, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has called for national paid sick days in Canada. Just hours after the Prime Minister released his $1 billion plan to combat COVID-19, Singh accused the Liberals of failing to help “60% of workers.” This comes as cases of the virus continue to be diagnosed in the country.
On Wednesday morning, Justin Trudeau confirmed in a press conference that the federal government would be assigning more than $1 billion to help combat COVID-19.
The plan included allocating funding to research, local health services, and provincial healthcare systems, as well as changes to Employment Insurance (EI) for those who get sick.
However, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on the government to go one step further, and ensure all Canadians are able to get paid time off if they become unwell with COVID-19.
In a tweet just hours after Trudeau’s press conference, the NDP Leader wrote, “The majority of workers - 60% - won’t be helped by today’s Liberal announcement on COVID19.”
He went on, “Other countries have found a way to give people paid sick leave so they can stay home,” before concluding, “Canada must do better.”
The majority of workers - 60% - won’t be helped by today’s Liberal announcement on COVID19. Other countries have f… https://t.co/d8KHy9MwwP— Jagmeet Singh (@Jagmeet Singh) 1583954804.0
Currently, the paid sick leave that workers are entitled to depends on their job, their employment status, whether they’re part of a union, and which region of Canada they live in.
While the federal government continues to advise Canadians to stay home and self-isolate if they are sick, there’s no existing federal legislation to ensure they’ll definitely be paid for this time off.
According to Global News, those who become ill should be able to claim benefits, but it’s not so simple for those who need to be quarantined but are not actually unwell.
It's also more complicated for those working on freelance contracts, those with more than one job, and those who have irregular working hours.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined Canada’s response to #COVID19. Learn more about what the Gove… https://t.co/daPt5xruFG— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) 1583975075.0
In a similar tweet earlier this week, Singh stated, “It’s been 44 days since the first case of COVID19 in Canada.”
He went on, “And still no help for those who don’t have sick leave and can’t stay home. And today the Liberal Minister of Labour says she hasn’t heard any concerns from workers.”
He then asked, “What will it take to get the Liberals to act?”
It’s been 44 days since the first case of COVID19 in Canada. And still no help for those who don’t have sick leav… https://t.co/xhIubHJO8A— Jagmeet Singh (@Jagmeet Singh) 1583869518.0
Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Labour Minister Filomena Tassi assured Canadians that they will not be forced to work if they’re unwell.
"We also don't want workers going to work because they feel that they need to work in order to pay for the groceries and put food on the table,” she said.
The federal government’s COVID-19 plan offers $5 million to speed up the EI process. This will include waiving the one-week waiting period.