Trudeau in discussions with provinces to guarantee paid sick leave for all workers

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At a May 25 press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the federal government is currently in talks with the provinces to guarantee 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers in Canada. 

Trudeau also said that landlords in Ontario with up to 10 tenants can begin applying for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program tomorrow (May 26). The program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses—including charities and not-for-profits—that have been affected by COVID-19. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of rent payments in April, May, and June.

According to the government, the loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants' rent by at least 75 per cent. The small business tenant would cover the remaining 25 per cent.

At the press conference, Trudeau urged landlords to apply for the program, while also asking businesses to do their part to keep employees on payroll by applying for the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). 

The move to work with provinces to guarantee paid sick leave for workers came after the federal New Democrats announced that they're conditioning their support for a plan to continue suspending full House of Commons sittings on action from the Liberal government on paid sick leave for all Canadians, as well as support for people with disabilities struggling with COVID-19.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh laid out the demands on Monday morning.

Saying that he spoke with Singh over the weekend, Trudeau said that "no one should have to choose between taking sick leave and paying bills, or staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or paying for rent and groceries."

"We'll continue to have discussions with the provinces to ensure every worker has access to 10 days of paid sick leave a year," he said, adding that the government will also consider other mechanisms for longer-term to support for workers who need sick leave. 

Trudeau emphasized the need for more progress on testing and contact tracing and reminded people to continue practicing physical distancing to protect themselves and the country's most vulnerable residents.

With files from The Canadian Press

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