Members of the Ontario Universities and Colleges Coalition (OUCC), which represents over 435,000 faculty, staff, and students from every public postsecondary education institution in Ontario, support the Decent Work and Health Network’s call for seven (7) permanent, paid sick days for all workers and an additional fourteen (14) paid sick days during public health outbreaks.
58 per cent of workers in Canada do not have access to any paid sick days. For workers in low-wage jobs, that number rises to over 70 per cent. These staggering statistics are particularly alarming given that we have been dealing with a global pandemic and one of Canada’s worst public health crises for over a year, during which thousands have died. Yet, no government in Canada has legislated adequate paid sick days for workers.
The postsecondary education sector, like other parts of the economy and community, also needs paid sick days for all its employees. Many members of our campus communities, including casual and precarious workers—some of whom are maintaining the health and safety of campuses, do not have access to paid sick days and are at risk of contracting COVID-19. Community spread also impacts many students who are working low-wage jobs without paid sick leave. At many of Ontario’s colleges and universities, vocational and lab-based classes are continuing, even during the pandemic, and the faculty and staff who teach and support them need paid sick leave to prevent the spread. The call for paid sick days is necessary for the safety of students, workers, parents, and the broader community.
The call for paid sick days is popular across the province. Healthcare professionals and medical officers at all levels of government have been staunch advocates for paid sick days, especially during the pandemic. In addition, labour councils and mayors of Ontario’s major cities see paid sick days as a public health priority.
As workers, educators, students, and members of the postsecondary education community, we support the call for paid sick days and call on the Ontario government to recall the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as soon as possible to immediately pass Bill 239, which will provide all workers in Ontario with access to paid sick days.
- RM Kennedy, Chair - Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) - College Faculty Division
- Rahul Sapra, President - Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
- David Simao, Chair - Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)- Ontario University Sector
- Janice Hagen, Chair- Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) - College Support Division
- Denis Martinez, Chair- Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) - College Support Part-time Division
- Harvey Bischof, President - Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)
- Kayla Weiler, National Executive Representative - Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario (CFS-O)
- Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director - Unifor
- Craig Reynolds, Regional Executive Vice-President - Public Service Alliance of Canada- Ontario (PSAC Ontario Region)
- Marty Warren, Director - United Steelworkers District 6