Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question from a member of the media on site during a daily news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Monday May 25, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Federal government to push for 10 days of paid sick leave for workers: Trudeau

With the fall flu season in mind, the federal government is discussing with the provinces the idea of bringing in 10 days of paid sick leave for workers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

Speaking at his daily press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau said the issue of beefed-up paid sick leave was raised a number of weeks ago by British Columbia Premier John Horgan.

Trudeau said Horgan pointed out “quite rightly” that when the fall comes and the flu season starts up, authorities don’t want people who develop a sniffle to worry about having to go to work and risk infecting others because they can’t afford to miss work and stay home.

To prevent a second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc, “a number of premiers” agree that Canada needs a system to encourage people who develop symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home for the time necessary to get themselves tested and treated, Trudeau said.

“These are things that will be essential in our recovery if we are to control the spread of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.

“The mechanisms are challenging and that’s why we have to work with the provinces.”

The issue of bringing in 10 days of paid sick leave for workers is also something the centre-left New Democratic Party (NDP) demanded in exchange for supporting the plan by the minority Liberal government to extend the suspension of the House of Commons during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Just moments after Trudeau announced the ongoing negotiations with the provinces, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh sent out a statement claiming victory.

“As more and more businesses are being asked to reopen, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh secured two weeks of paid sick leave for every worker in Canada by pushing the federal government to act,” reads the statement.

“We will keep pushing the government to make sure they deliver on this commitment and that they work with provinces to make sick leave for workers permanent going forward.”

With files from CBC News

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