Ontario cabinet finalizing sick-leave plan to be released in coming days

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TORONTO — Ontario says it will present a paid sick-leave program for essential workers in a matter of days, following repeated calls for it to act on the issue.

Government House Leader Paul Calandra says the province hopes to address "gaps" in a federal benefit including eligibility, reducing wait times for receiving funds, the amount of funding available and time off to get vaccinated.

Public health experts, labour groups and local officials have been calling for sick-leave support for workers for months, arguing it would reduce COVID-19 spread in workplaces.

The Progressive Conservative government rejected Opposition motions on paid sick leave earlier this week and said it was waiting to see if Monday’s federal budget included any changes to the program.

It changed course Tuesday amid an onslaught of criticism and Calandra says cabinet is working to finalize a provincial plan as soon as possible.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the government should have acted earlier and says the program needs to support all workers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press