TORONTO, May 1, 2021 – As the province continues to deny workers permanent paid sick leave, Unifor takes to the skies above the Greater Toronto Area with what they are calling a bold message to Premier Doug Ford.
“We are running out of ways to get the message across to the Premier that workers need permanent, adequate sick leave, enshrined in employment standards legislation. So today, we brought the message right to his house, and to millions across the region, with a method that’s hard to ignore,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When we say that Ontario’s workers need paid sick days, we mean employer-paid sick leave that they can rely on, without question, during this pandemic and forever.”
The message of support for paid sick days is flying on Saturday May 1 from Oshawa, over Toronto, and to Brampton, with a special tour in Etobicoke North.
Unifor first wrote to Premier Ford in March 2020 outlining the need for paid sick days to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stills and raw footage of the airplane banner will be available upon request for media.
“For the past year, Unifor and our members have written letters, called, met with and tried everything in our power to make the case for permanent paid sick leave for all workers in the province. As new variants rip through workplaces and communities, Doug Ford’s government stalled and then delivered a new benefit that is not adequate, and brings new gaps that may leave some workers even worse off,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director.
Three days of sick leave is not sufficient for COVID illness or recovery, and does not meet the needs of workers who could face a repeated need to seek COVID testing or self-isolate.
Unifor advocates for universal paid sick days to be enshrined in labour law in Ontario that includes:
- 7 permanent paid sick days;
- 14 additional paid sick days during a declared public health emergency;
- Universality (i.e. it applies to all workers, regardless of status);
- A prohibition on sick notes;
- Flexible (i.e. not just for short-term illness; more akin to “personal emergency” days);
- No administrative burden.
In the past year, members in Ontario engaged Ministers and MPPS in a targeted lobbying campaign on this and other issues in advance of the 2021 provincial budget. In the coming week, the union will continue to escalate this call for true paid sick days with its member-driven digital campaign and a series of “phone zap” calling actions.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.