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Mike Schreiner gets all-party support for bill to scrap sick notes

Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner is one step closer to fixing one of Doug Ford’s pre-pandemic mistakes - reintroducing sick notes in 2018.

QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner is one step closer to fixing one of Doug Ford’s pre-pandemic mistakes – reintroducing sick notes in 2018.

Bill 200, which would remove the ability of employers to demand sick notes for temporary minor illnesses passed second reading with unanimous support.

“Requiring sick notes totally contradicts good public health. Whether a worker has COVID-19 symptoms or any other illness, we need to trust them, let them stay home and recover,” said Schreiner.

While sick notes have been temporarily suspended during the pandemic, Schreiner’s legislation would make the change permanent in the Employment Standards Act.

In his consultations with labour unions, health care workers and business leaders, Schreiner heard repeatedly that sick notes are an unnecessary burden on the healthcare system that also risk spreading illness.

“This is about respecting workers and the valuable time of physicians. I was happy to get all-party support. We need to learn from COVID-19 and fix the government’s mistake in reinstating sick notes,” said Schreiner.

Bill 200 now proceeds to committee.

–Support for Bill 200–

“Prioritizing public health is our best long-term economic strategy. The Guelph Chamber of Commerce encourages the Ontario government to end the application of employer-requested sick notes under section 50 of the ESA, in order to ease the burden on our healthcare system and minimize people’s exposure to the spread of illness.” – Shakiba Shayani, President, Guelph Chamber of Commerce

“Bill 200 isn’t just good for families, it’s good for public health. It’s especially good for precariously employed workers without paid sick leave who should be afforded the time to get well instead of clogging up the health care system. I’d like to thank Mike Schreiner for introducing Bill 200 and his ongoing commitment to the hardworking women and men of this province who deserve the trust and support of their government, not just during a pandemic, but always.” – Sharleen Stewart, President SEIU Healthcare

“The Guelph Family Health Team strongly urges the Government to revoke any requirement for sick notes. By asking primary care providers to provide sick notes, we are taking time away from meeting the medical needs of patients.” –  Ross Kirkconnell, Guelph Family Health Team