April 27, 2021 — There is no more time to waste in implementing paid sick leave. Today, the four Halton Mayors and Regional Chair renewed our call for a paid sick leave program. This is the third call for paid sick leave from Halton’s elected representatives in as many months, including last week as we stood with the recommendations from the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario.
We are encouraged by recent statements from Provincial representatives to implement a program. We urge immediate action.
The lives of our residents are at-risk. We will not kick COVID-19 to the curb without protecting our essential workers and their families. Our residents are exposed to COVID-19 at work and risk exposing their whole family, with potentially devastating consequences.
Our health system is at-risk. Sick leave is a form of preventative medicine and is far less costly than treating full-blown infections.
The emotional, physical and mental health toll on our community is staggering — imagine having to choose between going to work, feeding your family, and potentially exposing your loved ones to disease.
Our economy is at-risk. Entire workplaces are now being closed when there is an outbreak. The better solution is to provide sick pay for ill workers to stay at home, keep essential businesses running, and protect employees and their families from further spread.
In its present form, the Federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit program takes too long to be approved and its benefits are only available for a week at a time. Public Health guidelines recommend workers self-isolate for 14 days from their last exposure before returning to work. The federal program’s $500 benefit ($450 after taxes) currently falls below the minimum wage. The federal government has the ability to borrow from itself and set interest rates in order to help fund an adequate paid sick leave program in partnership with the Province.
Ontarians want to see all levels of government working together. As Ontario Premier Doug Ford has stated on this issue, “It’s the same taxpayer. We’re all paying the same taxes.”
This is now in the hands of the provincial government. It does no good to our community to see sick leave passed between levels of government like a hot potato. We are asking the Province to do what is fully within your powers and act now on paid sick leave.
Halton Regional Chair, Gary Carr
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
Mayor Rick Bonnette, Town of Halton Hills
Mayor Gordon Krantz, Town of Milton
Mayor Rob Burton, Town of Oakville
- Joint Statement from Halton’s Mayors & Regional Chair: Statement from Halton’s Mayors & Regional Chair on Measures to Combat COVID-19
- COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario Brief: Fighting COVID-19 in Ontario: The Way Forward
- Ontario Medical Association Statement: Ontario’s doctors strongly support COVID-19 Science Advisory Table’s “way forward” statement
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.
Halton Region has also created a dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine webpage at halton.ca/covidvaccines for up to date information on the status of our COVID19 vaccination program.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
- Halton Region has created a Reopening Schools resource webpage for parents, students and teachers at halton.ca/covid19.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Provincial Emergency Orders: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200052
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist