Ontario’s doctors are urging the Province to increase the number of sick days available for employees in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
As the number of new cases remains in the four-digit range—there were multiple days this week where the number nearly reached 2,000—Ontario’s doctors are calling for more sick days so those who may be infected with the virus can stay home and avoid spreading it.
Many workers who don’t have the luxury of taking time off for illness, such as truck drivers, personal support workers, food production workers and other jobs, are being forced to put not only their lives, but the lives of their coworkers and the health care staff who may be forced to treat them at risk.
“Workers without paid sick leave often feel forced to work when unwell so they can feed and support their families,” Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), said in a news release.
“Worse, many are also at risk of losing their jobs if they stay home. Going to work sick contributes to the record number of COVID cases we are seeing, especially in some of our hotspots. At a time when we are all working as hard as we can to reduce spread, and protect our most vulnerable, it’s unfathomable to ask to put workers in that position. Beyond being the right thing to do for the individual, paid sick days are essential for Ontario’s recovery and well-being,” she continued.
Additionally, in order to help prevent the risk of contracting and spreading the virus, the OMA is urging Ontarians to stringently follow the instructions from public health officials, including frequent hand-washing, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask at all times when inside enclosed spaces, and downloading the COVID Alert app.
“Making Ontario’s economy healthy again is an important priority for all us of,” Allan O’Dette, CEO of the OMA, said in the same release. “We first need to make sure workers are healthy.”