New legislation that is due to be passed in Ontario may see employees receiving up to 3 days of paid Covid-19 sick leave. That is, employers may be mandated to pay employees up to $200 per day for a maximum of 3 days if they are forced to stay at home from work as a result of the Coronavirus. This leave could come as a result of possible infection and the need to get tested, the need to get vaccinated or the need to self-isolate while awaiting test results.
The government of Ontario is seeking for the federal government to input better Covid-19 protection for workers and enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit Program for Ontario employees that may have been affected by the pandemic, especially essential workers such as those in financial institutions and healthcare providers.
It is the hope of the provincial government that workers will stay at home when they need to without worrying about going unpaid and can help flatten the curve during the pandemic.
Of course this does not mean that employers would be out of pocket. The program also serves to reimburse them for the amounts that they are required to pay employees who may have needed to stay at home or self-isolate.
For workers that need to be isolated for longer periods due to a positive Covid-19 test result or exposure to someone who has had the virus, then they can also apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit if they were not entitled to or had not applied for paid sick leave.
All of these implementations are put in place in the hope of helping to reduce the spread of the disease and to encourage persons to stay at home if they are sick or may have had a risk of exposure to someone with Covid-19. The province itself has offered to assist the federal government with the $200 payment by paying workers an additional $500 per week if they are required to stay at home or take unpaid sick leave for longer than the 3-day period.
The Minister of Labour stated earlier this week, "It is a tremendous positive step that the federal government has signalled their willingness to continue discussions on the CRSB. Now we can fix the outstanding gap in the federal program so that workers can get immediate support and can stay home when needed." He also stated, "Our government has long advocated for the federal government to enhance the CRSB Program to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers."
More information on the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit Program and help available for those affected by Covid-19 in the province can be found on the government of Ontario's website. For federal information and welfare programs, more information can be found on the government of Canada's website.