Ontario’s temporary paid sick leave program is receiving less uptake than initially expected.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday that, as of July 21, a total of $13.2 million in claims have been made to the program, which is retroactive to April 19 and ends on Sept. 25. When the program was first launched this spring, government officials estimated the total cost between $750 million and $1.5 billion, noted the report.
According to published provincial figures, the program had paid out 39,887 claims for a total of $11.3 million as of July 16. The average claim was 1.8 days per employee with an average daily value of $154. Claims were highest among employees in the manufacturing, construction and retail sectors, said the province.
Ontario passed the three-day sick leave policy on April 30. Employers are reimbursed for up to $200 a day for what they pay out. The policy was introduced after months of pressure from health experts and advocates who said paid sick leave would reduce workplace outbreaks of the coronavirus. The province only shifted its stance recently, after the federal government left a national sick pay benefit unchanged in this spring’s budget.