Letter to all MPPs regarding my Paid Sick Days bill

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Members of Provincial Parliament
The Legislative Assembly
Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario  

Dear Colleagues:

We know what we need to do to resolve this pandemic, re-open Ontario and get our lives back to normal. Vaccinate. Wear a mask. Socially distance. Stay home if you are sick.

It’s that last universally acknowledged piece of expert medical advice that we lack the tools to implement – and from hot zones across the province, workers who cannot stay home off when they are ill remains a question of life and death.

The Premier has refused to implement paid sick leave. He says there is a federal program to provide retroactive income replacement, and anything he did would be duplicative. However, we know that the federal program was never designed to replace paid sick days.

Healthcare professionals, mayors and councillors, organized labour and every single Opposition party is united in calling for paid sick leave. Polling says 70% of our constituents support it, too.

At the beginning of March, MPP Peggy Satler’s bill to establish paid sick leave had 35 votes in this House – but 50 government MPPs voted against it. It was a missed opportunity for the government to support a program that would’ve saved lives.

So let me speak directly to my Conservative colleagues.

When my bill – Bill 247, The Paid Personal Emergency Leave Now Act – comes up for debate on Thursday, April 22, I urge you to stand up and pass paid sick leave into law.

After the debacle of this past weekend, you owe it to your constituents – and to your own conscience – to do the right thing, regardless of what the Premier’s Office tells you to do.

Shutting playgrounds down or arbitrary police stops won’t get this pandemic under control.

Paid sick leave is part of the solution.

All it would take is a handful of Conservative MPPs to overrule the Premier and pass this life saving policy.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Coteau, MPP
Don Valley East