• Michael Laxer

Three paid sick days is just as bad when the NDP does it

If we are going to call out Doug Ford for inadequate, terrible policy that is dangerous for working people, then we have to equally call out John Horgan.



Something that really should not need saying but apparently does: when John Horgan and the BC NDP delay for over a year into the pandemic to introduce a totally inadequate three days of paid sick leave for workers this is just as bad as when Doug Ford and the Conservatives in Ontario do it.


There is nothing particularly unusual for the NDP and it supporters to try to portray tiny reforms as great leaps forward or to hold utterly contradictory positions -- such as opposing one pipeline while supporting another -- but it is mildly more distressing to see a union do it when it effects workers.


But that is exactly what Unifor did with two press releases 13 days apart (Links: Unifor welcomes paid sick leave in B.C. | Unifor National & Ontario conservatives put profits ahead of workers with just three paid sick days | Unifor National):



The difference in the headlines on the releases alone says it all. In the one case, entirely correctly, they call out Doug Ford for terrible policy which is dangerous for working people -- especially the most racialized, marginalized and lowest paid workers -- while in the other they provide cover for the BC NDP's equally awful policy.


Clearly they either don't see it or thought no one would notice, but the partisan doublethink is astounding.


To be clear, the criticism of Ford's "plan" is totally justified. But the BC plan is equally bad and took even longer to be implemented. It is true that the BC government claims that in January, 2022 they will implement a permanent plan, after "consultations", that may or may not be more extensive.


The greater number of sick days are desperately needed now though, not in 2022. And "welcoming" the BC NDP's plan is not at all helpful in the cause of putting pressure to see a proper sick leave program for all workers now.


Not everyone shares Unifor's take on the BC plan however.


UFCW 1518, for example said it was:


disappointed in the minimal paid sick day provisions announced by the government of British Columbia.
Premier John Horgan and Labour Minister Harry Bains announced that employers will now be required to cover three paid sick days for their workers.
The paid sick days program is temporary and applies to full-time and part-time workers, but not to contract or gig workers. The government has committed to creating a permanent paid sick leave program beginning in January 2022 but has not stated how many days it will apply for and what percent of wages it will cover.
"While this program will provide an immediate benefit for some workers who do not currently have paid sick days, it does not go far enough," says UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. "After 15 months of the pandemic, the federal and provincial governments are doing the bare minimum, especially for those who are working on the front lines."
UFCW 1518, labour activists, medical professionals, and front-line workers have been calling for a universal paid sick leave plan for months.

This twitter take was a little more blunt:



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