Key details on Ontario’s plan for three paid sick days

Third wave of COVID-19 reignites debate over paid sick days in Canada Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

The Ontario government passed legislation on a long-demanded paid sick-day plan on Thursday. Here’s what the bill reveals about the plan. 

WHAT DOES THE PROGRAM PROVIDE?

Workers are entitled to three partial or full sick days under the program. 

They will be paid their hourly wage, for a maximum of $200 per day. 

If the worker earns commission or tips, they are entitled to the minimum amount that they could have been paid on their sick day. 

If the employee is missing a shift where they would have earned a premium — such as an overnight shift — they won’t receive that premium. 

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK?

The province says workers will not have to fill out any forms or make any formal application to use the sick days. 

Instead, their employer must pay the worker the wages, and then apply to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board to have the money reimbursed. 

The employer must fill out a form that confirms they paid the worker, specifying the dates the worker took leave, as well as the date that the worker received their payment. 

WHO QUALIFIES?

Employees qualify if they are unable to work because they are under investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19; if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and have been told to stay home; if they are self-isolating due to COVID-19; or if they are caring for a COVID-19 patient. 

If a worker’s contract gives them three or more days of paid sick leave, the province will not reimburse the employer under this program. 

If the contract gives a worker fewer than three days, the province will reimburse the workplace for the days not covered under the contract. 

HOW LONG WILL THE PROGRAM BE IN PLACE FOR?

The sick-day program will be in place until Sept. 25, 2021, unless it is extended. 

The government has said it is retroactive to April 19.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2021. 

The Canadian Press