The Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario jointly express their disappointment and deep concern with the decision by the Ontario government to vote against Bill 8. This piece of legislation would have introduced 10 permanent paid sick days and 14 additional paid sick days during public health crises. In the last month alone, 97 outbreaks in Ontario have occured in workplace settings and paid sick leave plays a crucial part ensuring the safety of workers, the public, and vulnerable populations who are not able to defend themselves against COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ontario government has voted against increasing the number of paid sick days for workers 27 times. Student workers need more support during the pandemic and the Ontario government cannot have an effective strategy fighting against the pandemic without involving student workers. With the rising cost of living and education, it is not a choice for most students to not find work during their studies and rising costs are a huge barrier to accessing post-secondary education. Students need assurance that they can be supported when dealing with mental health challenges, medical emergencies, and being in unsafe domestic situations.
This decision comes at a time when the pandemic is still spreading and the current Ontario paid sick day program is set to expire in a month. The call for paid sick days is vital for the health and safety of not only students, but all people in Ontario who deserve better. All workers, including students, need access to a comprehensive paid sick leave program that addresses the ongoing health crises with the seriousness and diligence it deserves. The Federation calls on the Ontario government to introduce legislation that will enact 10 permanent paid sick days and provide workers with the support necessary to increase public safety.
Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario