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Ontario promises to protect workers who take unpaid leave during coronavirus pandemic

Doug Ford’s PC government is expected to announce new rules today that will “protect workers who are required to take unpaid leave during self-isolation or quarantine periods.”

The Premier’s Office announced in a statement on Sunday that new legislation is currently being drafted that would, first and foremost, direct all companies to scrap their sick note policies in light of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meant to “ensure protected leave,” the bill will ask employers to “remove the requirement for employees to obtain sick notes prior to taking time off for self-isolation or quarantine, or to provide care for those who are in self-isolation or quarantine,” according to a press release.

“Our government is protecting workers so they can focus on their own health, and the health of their families and communities, without fear of losing their jobs,” said Ford himself in a statement.

The bill is expected to be pushed through without any opposition, despite the fact that the legislature is not currently siting, as the NDP party says it is in full cooperation with the ruling PCs on this issue.

“I’m pleased that the government is now drafting emergency legislation to help Ontarians cope with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NDP leader Andrea Horwath in a statement on Sunday.

“The Official Opposition has spoken to the government, and will be cooperating to draft and pass a bill to help people in Ontario weather the storm.”

Ford is scheduled to comment further on the government’s new protective measures for workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak at Queen’s Park on Monday alongside Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton.

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