Public Attitudes to Paid Sick Leave in Ontario

As of 2021, Ontario does not have any form of legislated paid sick leave. Under the previous government, Ontario workers were given 10 personal emergency sick days, two of which were paid.

In 2019, however, the Ford government scrapped paid sick leave and replaced it with other forms of unpaid leave.
Ontario residents have access to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CSRB), which provides $500 per week for up to two weeks to workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. However, the CSRB is a time-limited measure.

Survey results reveal broad support for mandated paid sick leave in Ontario

  • Decisive majorities of Ontarians support for five or, to a somewhat lesser extent, ten days of legislated paid sick leave
  • Ontarians widely see paid sick leave as an important labour market reform

There is a strong partisan divide with Progressive Conservative supporters more divided on the issue and all other party supporters overwhelmingly in favour

Arguments that paid sick leave will pose an undue burden to businesses and cost jobs do not hold water with the majority of Ontarians (but produce divided views among Progressive Conservative supporters).

There is considerable support for having the Province of Ontario fund small businesses to offset the costs of paid sick leave.

The issue of paid sick leave has taken on greater urgency in the minds of the public as the absence of paid sick leave is seen as having contributed to the worsening spread of COVID-19