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B.C. government must do more to stop COVID-19 says Unifor

Picture of the outside of the BC Legislative Building in Victoria
April 20, 2021 - 3:00 AM

VANCOUVER—The continued resistance by the Horgan government to legislate paid sick days represents a serious gap in the province’s strategy to stop the spread of the coronavirus, says Unifor.

“The B.C. government must pull out all the stops to protect public health. Employer-paid sick days is a key policy tool to let workers stay home if they’re sick,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We need bold leadership in Victoria who is willing to stand up to a handful of business lobbyists in the name of public health.”

B.C. employment standards only provide for three unpaid sick days. Nearly two-thirds of British Columbians do not have paid sick day benefits. Among low-paid workers, that figure rises even higher. More women than men don’t have paid sick leave.

“This government issues communication on a daily basis about precautions that workers should take to flatten the curve, but elected leaders refuse to use their power to implement paid sick days,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “When it comes to their health, workers cannot rely on the whims and charity of employers. Workers need a guaranteed provincial standard now.”

Unifor welcomes investments in today’s budget for core programs such as childcare and healthcare. McGarrigle promised to continue the campaign for paid sick leave and easier access to unionization.

“We urge the B.C. government to seize the opportunity to build back better. The pre-pandemic status quo is not something to aspire to,” said McGarrigle.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).