Mallorytown Mayor wants province to implement paid sick days

A man holds up a sign as a group advocating for Provincially mandated paid sick days for workers participates in a 'die-in' rally outside Queens Park in Toronto, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

The Mayor of Mallorytown has joined the chorus of voices calling on the province to institute paid sick leave for essential workers. 

Front of Young Mayor Roger Hayley said essential workers, grocery store workers, teachers, warehouse workers and others, need more supports during the current 28-day provincial lockdown, as they're still expected to work and COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 

"These are typically low-paid jobs, the people have to go to work to pay the bills, and they're going to work sick and taking COVID home to their families," Hayley said. 

"Even if they only implement the program for six months, to get a handle on this, but until they stop sick people from going to work, it's not going to change." 

Hayley suggested starting paid sick leave in areas like Toronto, which has been a hotspot for the virus, as he said they can act as vectors for the virus in the entire province. 

Calls for provincially legislated paid sick leave have been growing amid the third wave of the pandemic, while Premier Doug Ford said in January that there was no reason for the province to implement a system because the federal government has taken steps to province income supports. Critics have said the federal benefits are less than minimum wage and there's no job security for those who use it. 

A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development told CTV News in a statement on Easter Monday that the province is working with the federal government to "maximize" the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

"We are not going to duplicate an existing program," the spokesperson said. "However, our government has been advocating on behalf of workers to ensure money is distributed faster, is easier to access, and is accessible to workers who need it multiple times."

-With files from CTV News