Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government intends to give all workers a minimum of 10 days paid sick leave per year as Canada starts to prepare for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with Covid-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries," Trudeau said.
Canada has reported more than 85,000 cases of coronavirus and over 6,550 related deaths.
For those infected, sick leave is usually a provincial jurisdiction, which complicates the national effort.
Trudeau said putting the necessary mechanisms in place for a national paid sick leave program would be challenging, but his government and the provinces are determined to try.
"When the fall comes and flu season starts up we don't want people who develop a sniffle to suddenly worry that while they really shouldn't go into work but they can't afford to not go into work and therefore the risk of contributing to a wave significantly, could be a real problem," he said.
Canada's top doctor repeated her assertion that a second wave of the virus could be worse than the first and encouraged public health officials to build up capacity for testing, hospital beds and personal protective equipment in order to prepare.
US-Canada border will remain closed to nonessential travel for at least another month.
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