All Albertans Deserve Paid Sick Days

May 25, 2022
EDMONTON

All Albertans Deserve Paid Sick Days

Friends of Medicare will be speaking at the Rally for Paid Sick Days for All Albertans today at the Legislature at 4:30 p.m.

Friends of Medicare stands with Health Sciences Association of Alberta members, health care workers and others who will be rallying today to demand paid sick days for all Albertans. Paid sick days allow workers to take the necessary time off to rest and recover from illness without fear of lost wages or job repercussions. At the same time, they keep other workers and their families safer and healthier, saving lives while minimizing the impact on our strained public health care system.

“No worker should have to make the impossible choice between going to work sick and being able to pay the bills,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Yet, while other governments have acted to protect workers and enact paid sick leave, calls for action here in Alberta have fallen on deaf ears.”

Both the federal and British Columbia governments have acted to implement paid sick leave in their jurisdictions, but Alberta workers have so far been left waiting.

“We are over two years into a global pandemic and Alberta workers still don’t have paid sick days,” said Gallaway. "This is yet one more instance of this government shirking their responsibility to protect Albertans and their families by enacting a simple, bare minimum public health policy to help ensure some economic security and protection from workplace illness.”

Over two years ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and labour unions, doctors, health care advocates and others have responded by repeatedly calling for initiatives that would protect working people and our health care system, like presumptive WCB coverage, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and paid sick days.

“When it comes to the provincial government’s pandemic response, they have repeatedly ignored working Albertans’ calls for policy changes, all while acting quickly when it meant supporting the interests of their corporate friends," said Gallaway, "prioritizing policies such as accelerating the corporate tax giveaway, cancelling WCB premiums for employers, or passing legislation to protect private long-term care facilities from being sued."

“Albertans have waited long enough. It’s time for our government to finally put people before profits, and move just as decisively to protect working people and their families, as they have to protect corporate profits," concluded Gallaway. “Workers and their families deserve better.”

Friends of Medicare encourages Albertans to stand up in support of paid sick days for all, by attending today’s rally at the Alberta Legislature, or by sending a message to your MLA.

- 30 -