Business lobby group opposes mandatory paid sick leave for workers impacted by coronavirus
The Atlantic vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has expressed strong opposition to calls for governments to expand mandatory paid sick days in response to the coronavirus. Jordi Morgan, the CFIB vice president, believes the decision should be left up to individual businesses in Nova Scotia.
The CFIB represents itself as a champion for small businesses in Canada, however, business size is not a pre-requisite for becoming a member. The group was a notable ally of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and has consistently opposed plans to increase the minimum wage for workers.
Calls for increased paid sick leave have grown as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated, prompting public health officials to urge sick workers to stay at home. That has not stopped some from going into work sick due to fears of losing their income.
Healthcare workers have stressed the importance of providing paid sick leave for efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, a coalition of health professionals called for a minimum of seven paid sick days and ten days of job-protected emergency leave.
Canada has no federally mandated minimum for paid sick days. The rules regarding sick leave are made provincially. Only Quebec and Prince Edward Island require employers to provide their workers with paid sick days. Ontario did have two days of paid sick leave, but the Ford government repealed the legislation.
Canada, alongside the United States, lags behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to sick leave. Luxembourg, Norway, Finland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand all offer five days of paid sick leave to their workers.