Open Letter to Sylvia Jones re: paid sick days

April 15, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Dear Ms. Jones,

I have some genuine questions that I would like to ask you: how many paid sick days do you have as a Member of Provincial Parliament?  And if you don’t have any paid sick days, do you feel financially secure as a salaried government employee to be able to take a day off of work if needed?  And are you able to make up that work at a later time because you are salaried?  Or if you don’t, are you financially penalized for failing to complete the work/show up to work due to illness?

I ask these questions because you, and your fellow Conservative colleagues recently voted down Bill 239 – Stay Home if You’re Sick Act 2021, and now have also failed to provide any notion of paid sick days in your governments recently announced budget.  I ask these questions because I cannot find any mention of the status of paid sick days for MPP’s when completing an internet search.  I ask these questions because I would bet that the answers would reveal that you and all MPP’s have the privilege of paid sick days, or at the very least, the security of a salaried position.  Yet you and your Conservative colleagues continue to deny this same privilege and/or security to many of Ontario’s essential workers – essential workers that you praised as heroes at the start of this pandemic.

I do not begrudge you if you do have paid sick days or financial security due to a salaried position.  I myself benefit from having paid sick days and a salaried position as a secondary school teacher.  What I have a problem with is the hypocrisy that exists among MPP’s who vote against paid sick days in Ontario, while benefiting from that or a similar privilege themselves.  How can you not see the benefit that paid sick days would bring to all of Ontario, even when there is not a pandemic going on?  Is the physical health of our society not one that we should all be promoting, regardless of political leanings?

The economic cost of not providing paid sick days to our essential workers working in jobs that do not provide paid sick days was highlighted recently by a tweet put out by Dr. Michael Warner from Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto about a patient of his that contracted Covid via her husband who caught it from his essential services workplace.  In it he stated that it took 5 medical doctors, 4 ICU registered nurses, 4 respiratory therapists, 1 perfusionist and 3 critical care paramedics 3 hours to save an approx. 40-year-old Covid patient using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).  I am not a medical expert and I do not know what ECMO is, but it sounds like an expensive procedure, in addition to the cost associated with 3 hours of work for each of those medical professionals, all of which will be paid for by the province.  On the other hand, the provincial government could have provided paid sick days at a cost of $114/day (8 hours x minimum wage) for the individual who brought Covid into the workplace and the cost of the consequential medical treatment could have been avoided.  And this does not even bring in the cost of life that occurred, as Dr. Warner later reported that this patient died, despite the medical interventions.

Every day I find it incredibly challenging and frustrating to try and understand how your government makes the decisions that it does. Therefore I write to you today to implore you, nay beg you on behalf of the thousands of essential workers who do not have paid sick days, to please, please, reconsider your position on this matter.  The hypocrisy and death that is occurring at the hands of this provincial government due to their lack of action or care in regards to paid sick days is abhorrent.

Amy Reinders


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