Paid sick leave coming for Mississauga, Brampton and Ontario workers, says Premier Ford

 

Essential workers in virus-stricken Mississauga and Brampton will be getting paid sick leave in a program that will be announced next week, says Premier Doug Ford.

Speaking to reporters today from his home while he is self-isolating, Ford said the program is being developed and he promised it will be easily accessible and meet the needs of a workforce that keeps turning up at job sites even though COVID-19 is present.

While the program will be province-wide, the issue has been front and centre in Peel Region where most of the country's warehouses and food distribution centres are located.

Ford says Ontario's program will supplement and even go beyond what the federal government is offering adding "that it will be the best one offered in Canada."

In an emotional press conference where he apologized for restrictive measures announced last week, the premier faced hard questions from members of the media who took his government to task for the way it has handled the distribution of vaccines as well as the methods being used to contain the virus.

While Ford accepted some of the blame, he defended his government's action saying he is listening to medical advice and responding to the needs of the public.

As for the paid sick leave, he acknowledged that even though federal funds are available, there are gaps in the system which the province will fill.

"There is no other province in the country that will be better than the program we will be laying out," said Ford. "There is $700 million that has been just sitting there from the federal government since September. Their system is broken so we are going to take action ourselves."

Ford's reference to the federal money concerns the inability of some to access the funds and the long wait people have to receive it.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has been asking for paid sick leave for workers for months, arguing that vulnerable employees will continue to go to work even if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 because they fear losing pay and even their jobs.

(Photo: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

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