Mental health activist statement on call for paid sick leave

Local Mental Health activist and candidate for Greater Victoria School Board Ryan Painter issued the following statement on the announcement that the BC Federation of Labour has launched a campaign calling on the BC Government to establish paid sick leave provisions in the BC Employment Standards Act:

“It’s time that BC workers receive protections when they are ill or need to seek support from a medical professional. For too long BC workers have had to choose between going to work sick or staying home without pay. BC has a unique opportunity to be a leader when it comes to supporting the health and well-being of BC workers.

“Many countries around the world and even several jurisdictions in the U.S. have adopted mandatory paid sick leave provisions. Here in Canada, Ontario has adopted ten days of emergency leave without a doctor’s note, two of which must be paid. This is a model that BC should look to, but I believe we can and must do better than two days. I support the call by the BC Federal of Labour and their President Irene Lanzinger to have BC move to between five and eight days of paid leave.

“There is an important mental health dimension to this issue as well. Many who suffer from mental health issues do so in silence. Many more are forced to wait in long lineups at walk-in clinics to try to access the care of a GP. By providing paid sick leave to BC workers you send a signal that their health is the number one priority, and provide needed moral support along their wellness journey.

“It is my sincere hope that the BC Government, and the Minister of Labour Harry Bains, seriously consider moving to a provision within the BC Employment Standards Act to allow for between five to eight paid sick days for every BC worker. It is the right thing to do, and it is an idea whose time has come.”

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