B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCFED

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says president Laird Cronk

Advocates are calling upon the provincial government to invest in a paid sick leave policy for British Columbians after its newly released budget failed to include one.

“In this time of variants and rising cases, ensuring worker safety with paid sick leave is imperative,” said president Laird Cronk of the British Columbia Federation of Labour, representing more than 500,000 employees in both the public and private sector.

Its members include teachers, workers in health care, community social services, trades and others employed in B.C.

“We will continue to advocate for the over half of B.C. workers and nearly 90 per cent of low-wage workers that don’t have paid leave and are at higher risk of exposure,” Cronk said.

Budget 2021, released Tuesday (April 20), pledged a total of $800 million in investments to help B.C. businesses regain their footing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It included $100 million in tourism funding to help attractions better market themselves and retool to welcome visitors once travel bans are lifted.

RELATED: B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery

What about the low-income workers who staff these sites? The president is asking.

“For that recovery to be equitable, for it to be meaningful to working people, requires supports and re-hiring guarantees for workers, not just business,” Cronk said.

He said low-income workers, a majority of whom are women, are being ”hit hard” by COVID-19 – they are also some of the least likely to have the financial resources to miss work.

Currently, the province makes workers eligible for up to three days of unpaid leave each year for personal illness or injury.

“The budget fails to ensure paid sick days and remove the untenable decision for workers between staying home sick and paying the bills during a pandemic,” Cronk said.

Leftover from the budget is $8 billion in contingencies – which B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson said Tuesday could be used to address any immediate needs that arise during the pandemic.

The federation is urging the province to use some of those funds to deliver on paid sick days.

RELATED: B.C. restaurants to get COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ grant extension



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

2021 B.C. BudgetEmploymentMigrant Workers

Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP arrested a suspect in connection with a dumpster fire on the weekend. Black Press file photo
Comox Valley RCMP charge suspect with arson for weekend fire

Courtenay Fire Department has responded to multiple dumpster fires this year

NIC’s new president Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12. Domae has worked at NIC since 2000, most recently as the executive vice president, academic and chief operating officer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
New North Island College president launches draft strategic plan

Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12, 2021

A siren bank near Stotan Falls. Photo supplied
BC Hydro to test sirens along Puntledge River in Courtenay this week

Public safety is very important to BC Hydro, and it’s one of… Continue reading

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

Artist's drawing of the proposed 52-unit affordable seniors housing project in Comox. File photo
Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society receives federal grant money

The Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society (CVAHS) has received $25,000 in grant… Continue reading

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars On Ice returns to Vancouver Island

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Most Read