OCUFA calls on the provincial government to ensure that workers across Ontario have access to paid sick leave during this public health crisis.
While the government’s proposed legislation today to guarantee unpaid leave of absence for employees is a step in the right direction, it falls short of what workers really need during this pandemic.
It is a public health imperative to grant workers paid leave to allow them to comply with public health guidelines without suffering financial distress to socially isolate especially when sick or caring for a sick person.
“No worker should have to pick between complying with public health guidelines and putting food on the table or covering rent.” said OCUFA President Rahul Sapra. The public health of Ontario, and Canada as a whole, depends on individuals’ compliance with public health regulations. “Without an income guarantee to cover workers’ basic expenses, the government of Ontario is endangering the health of all Ontarians,” said Sapra.
We applaud the government for heeding the advice of health practitioners to remove the need for a medical professional’s note for a job-protected emergency leave, yet we are alarmed that the government is not providing paid leave for workers.
“We are worried about the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable groups in society. On university campuses, we are particularly concerned about contract faculty, workers in precarious working conditions and international students” said Sapra.
As universities take on increased measures to ensure the health and safety of the campus community by shutting down regular operations and cancelling classes, we need the government to implement stronger protections to support workers whose livelihoods will be dramatically impacted during this period.
OCUFA remains committed to working with the provincial government and opposition parties to advocate for better protections for workers in this province and to continue to provide support to our members during this challenging time.