OPINION: Have your say on B.C.’s paid sick leave program


NDP MLA for Richmond-Queensborough


SINCE the beginning of the pandemic, our number one priority has been the health and safety of people in B.C. That’s why we’re launching a permanent paid sick leave program and looking for your input to shape it. You can visit this link to take part right now: engage.gov.bc.ca/paidsickleave.

One of the most critical lessons we’ve learned is the importance of people staying home whenever they are sick. This is an essential part of slowing the spread of COVID-19. But many workers, especially those in lower-paying jobs, don’t have paid sick days and can’t afford to lose a day’s pay when they are sick.

Nobody should have to choose between paying rent and staying home when they are sick. And that’s why our government is taking action to implement permanent paid sick days for all workers in B.C.

Earlier this year, we created a temporary COVID-19 paid sick day program for up to three days of leave. This was designed to fill the gaps left by the federal government’s sickness benefit.

Starting on January 1, 2022, the BC government will launch a permanent paid sick day program, so that workers in B.C. will be supported when they need to take time off for illness or injury.

We want to make sure this permanent program will meet the needs of people in B.C. So we are asking for your input on what the program should look like. We are inviting workers and employers to take part in the consultation by completing a short online survey. This is your chance to have your say.

You can complete the survey by going to engage.gov.bc.ca/paidsickleave. You can complete it in English, Punjabi, Korean, Tagalog, or Traditional or Simplified Chinese, and it only takes a few minutes. No matter what industry you work in, or whether or not you already have paid sick days – we want to hear what you think. All the information collected will be kept anonymous, and we won’t ask for any personal identifying information.

We know that women, youth, and People of Colour are more likely to work in low-wage jobs without benefits or paid sick days. Creating a made-in-B.C. paid sick day program for all workers will make our province a fairer and more equitable place to live.

The consultation period is open until September 14, so don’t delay. Take the time to fill in the short online survey and let us know what you would like to see in the paid sick leave program. If you’re a worker, tell us how many days should be included and what would make it easier for you to stay home when you’re sick. If you’re a business owner, tell us how it would impact you and your employees.

The feedback we collect will help shape the different options we consider for the program. After the survey is completed, we’ll post the proposed models for public comment.

I hope you take the time to participate and have your voice heard. Together, we can build a better province for everyone.