After CERB: Paid Sick Leave Provisions in Canada

This brief was prepared by Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers, Armine Yalnizyan, on the inadequacy of paid sick leave provisions in Canada — who gets it, and who does not — as of June 17, 2020.

Without paid sick days, we are by policy design increasing the vectors of transmission and disease to the general public via workers providing personal care for the elderly, children, and people with episodic or chronic health problems; workers in grocery stores; people providing delivery and transit services, cleaning services, and food production and preparation services. Essential workers during a crisis will be no less essential after the crisis has passed, but will be essentially unprotected when CERB ends, which may occur before the pandemic has fully passed. Paid sick days, or their absence, is a policy-driven decision that can help or hinder individuals and the economy as a whole. After experiencing COVID-19, why would we tolerate policies that hurt ourselves and each other?