November 24, 2021

VICTORIA, B.C. (Territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples) – Today BC’s Labour Minister announced that beginning in January, the Province will legislate 5 permanent paid sick days (half of the Federal Government’s 10-day commitment for federally-regulated sectors) for employees  safeguarded by BC’s Employment Standards Act.

“While the introduction of 5 paid sick days will impact the lives of many workers, a clear and historical leadership opportunity has been missed despite enormous public pressure for 10 days, now two years into a pandemic,” said Pamela Charron with the WSN. “It’s more important than ever that the public understand that these 5 paid sick days, come January, are legally assured rights in BC, and that these standards must be enforced in a fair, effective and timely manner.”

The WSN calls for the removal of restrictive elements to the new public health protection, including the removal of a 90-day eligibility barrier which would effectively exclude many precarious and seasonal employees. 

The Network also emphasizes the need to remove any requirement to provide a sick-note as evidence for their employer. “Not only do sick note requirements place an unnecessary burden on our healthcare system, it also ridiculously suggests that employers are qualified to interpret what’s valid or necessary regarding a person’s private emergencies or health matters,“ said Charron. 

“It’s disappointing that during multiple crises in BC, priorities appear to rest in ensuring a so-called ‘win-win balance’ between the interests of corporate lobbyists’  and the assured protection of workers’ health. The WSN will continue to advocate for what statistics have continuously demonstrated; BC’s need for at least 10 days of permanent paid sick leave” said Anna Gerrard with the Network.

Learn more about the history of our Paid Sick Days Campaign!

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