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Ontario lagging on paid sick days, leaving low-wage workers stranded

What began as a scrape quickly festered into a hand infection, a wound that would have easily healed if the low-wage Toronto dishwasher didn’t have to keep dunking it in dirty water. But without access to a paid sick day, Dr. Kate Hayman says her patient had no option but to keep working.

There are at least 145 countries, including 23 jurisdictions in the United States alone, which give workers the right to be compensated when they’re ill. Meanwhile, under Ontario law, the majority of employees are only entitled to unpaid leave — and an estimated 1.6 million workers in the province aren’t entitled to a single, job-protected, paid sick day. Critics say that reality is costing patients and the health-care system alike.


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