January 14th, 2021
Paid sick leave: still too many workers do not have access to it
OTTAWA – With changes coming to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) to prevent non-essential foreign travellers from accessing the program, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on the Liberal government to take the opportunity to fix the program's flaws to make it easier for people to access the program and get help more quickly.
"Let's fix the program for those who need it by making it easier to access and faster to get help," said Singh. "Canadians are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to stop the spread of the virus, but it is imperative that we do everything we can to provide them with the tools they need to do so."
The NDP believes that this would be a good time to correct the program's shortcomings and ensure that all workers have the financial support they need to comply with public health guidelines.
Among other measures, workers should be able to take one or two days of sick leave at a time, receive full replacement income as soon as possible, and have guarantees that they will be able to keep their jobs if they get sick. The NDP also finds it unacceptable that still too many people are not even aware of the program and that they would be eligible for it due to a lack of publicity.
"The paid sick leave benefit is significantly under-utilized right now," said Singh. "A large proportion of COVID-19 transmissions occur in the workplace because workers don't have access to paid sick leave, so they can't isolate themselves at home and help minimize the spread of the virus. We need to help them stay home."