Published: Thu, April 22, 2021

Premier Ford pledges paid sick leave program for workers, apologizes

Premier Ford pledges paid sick leave program for workers, apologizes

The program offers $500 a week for four weeks to workers isolating due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being confirmed as a close contact.

Ford held a news conference in Etobicoke Thursday while in isolation after possibly being exposed to COVID-19 earlier this week, after a staffer in his office tested positive for the virus.

Just days after voting down motions on paid sick leave, the province has changed course, saying it will present a new program for essential workers in a matter of days.

"This experience, this pandemic is something that has affected every single person", Ford said.

Ford had been in close contact with the staffer on Monday.

Ford said the government is "working on solutions" and planning to make the "best program anywhere in North America".

Reporters pressed Ford about provincially funded paid sick days as health officials continue to say that virus transmission is driven in congregate and workplace settings.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath called on the government to do more immediately - including giving workers sick pay, closing non-essential businesses and sending more vaccines to hotspots.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said those conversations are ongoing and changes to the border are coming imminently.

"Policies that discourage safe outdoor activity will not control COVID-19 and will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to their own green space, especially those living in crowded conditions", the group said in its statement.

"We moved fast to put in measures in place to reduce mobility".

"Simply put, we got it wrong".

These people have been working throughout the entire pandemic, through lockdowns and various restrictions they've been on the frontlines and Fields wants that to be recognized.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Police Service announced late Tuesday that it would no longer maintain a constant presence at interprovincial crossings at bridges and ferries.

The premier has come under intense criticism for failing to make a public appearance since last Friday when he announced new COVID related restrictions including on many outdoor activities along with additional police powers, some of which were walked back the next day. "We made a mistake".

Ontario reported 3,682 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 806 people in intensive care.

At a small downtown Toronto pharmacy, Klaus Mienkamper - a father of two - filled out his paperwork as he prepared to get the shot.

"Because as premier, as I said right from the beginning, the buck stops with me".

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