In advance of the federal government’s 2021 budget, released on Monday, the Ontario government struck down a motion by the New Democratic Party seeking to create a provincial paid sick leave program.
Advocates have long called on the province to bring in paid sick leave, saying it would help support essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the province has thus far rejected calls for a provincial program, pointing out it would be needless overlap of forthcoming federal supports. Paul Calandra, the provincial government’s house leader, noted the feds were set to announce further enhancements to their sick-day program later Monday afternoon.
In its 2021 budget, the federal government maintained the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit at four weeks for employees taking sick leave due to contracting the disease and who are self-isolating.
However, the budget also outlined the feds’ plans to extend the employment insurance sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks, which would take effect in the summer of 2022. The extension to the EI sickness benefit comes on the heels of a recent survey by the Canadian Cancer Society that showed a majority (88 per cent) of Canadians support extending the benefit to at least 26 weeks.
As well, for employees who must take time off work to care for children and family, the budget proposed extending the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit by an additional four weeks, to a maximum of 42 weeks, at $500 per week.