The Honourable Scott Moe, M.L.A.
Premier of Saskatchewan
Unifor represents hundreds of thousands of members across the country, including countless heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic, some of whom have tragically succumbed to COVID-19. We understand firsthand how important it is to accelerate current vaccination efforts to protect Canadian workers and place our economy back on solid footing. Paid vaccine leave must be a part of the equation if we are to overcome this pandemic as soon as possible.
On behalf of the members of Unifor, we applaud you for taking that step and establishing a critical precedent for the rest of Canada through the recent introduction of the Special Vaccination Leave. This will make it possible for workers in Saskatchewan to access vaccines as soon as they become eligible, without fear of losing pay or having to compete for limited vaccination appointments during off hours.
While paid vaccine leave will be vital to immunize our workers as quickly as possible, we also reiterate our call to immediately legislate paid sick days so that workers who contract COVID-19 can stay home and quarantine without fear of losing income.
There is now indisputable evidence across the country that essential frontline workers who cannot access paid sick leave account for a growing proportion of severe COVID-19 cases, often requiring hospitalization and intensive care. Paid sick days are urgently needed to avoid stretching our healthcare resources beyond their limits and must be a part of Saskatchewan’s fight against COVID-19 in addition to paid vaccine leave.
Jerry Dias Gavin McGarrigle
National President Western Regional Director