‘Unconscionable’: Liberal MPP lashes out after Ford government rejects his paid sick leave bill

By News staff

A Liberal MPP’s bill that would have guaranteed 10 paid sick days for all workers in Ontario was voted down 20-55 at Queen’s Park on Monday.

Ontario Liberal labour critic Michael Coteau (Don Valley East) condemned the Conservative government’s rejection of his bill in a release following the vote.

“The government’s failure to provide paid sick leave is unconscionable,” he wrote. “Their continued votes against Opposition bills to establish paid sick leave, including my own again today, is simply reprehensible. Make no mistake: their votes are not against an Opposition MPP’s bill, but rather against the 83 per cent of Ontarians who support paid sick leave.”

“We know paid sick days save lives,” he added. “Every single expert, all opposition parties and countless municipal leaders have called on this government to do the right thing and create a paid sick leave program. For over 400 days, the government has refused to act.”

Following a flood of backlash, Doug Ford’s government seemed to change its tune on paid sick leave, saying last week that a program was in the works. No timeline was provided.

But in a follow-up statement released last week, the government said it will not mandate Ontario companies to provide sick days.

“While we work to fill the gaps in the federal paid sick leave program, Premier Ford made very clear today that our government will not impose any additional burden on the backs of Ontario businesses that have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ford’s press secretary said.

When asked about the government’s plan for paid sick leave on Monday in legislature, Labour Minister Monty McNaughton seemed to put the onus on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“The Federal government has to be our partner, step up and do more for the people of Ontario,” he said.

“We need the federal government to step up and increase payments to people in this province.”

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