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Ontario Liberal Party promises 10 paid sick days, higher minimum wage

Click to play video: 'Ontario Liberal leader Del Duca promises 10 paid sick days, higher minimum wage' Ontario Liberal leader Del Duca promises 10 paid sick days, higher minimum wage
WATCH: Del Duca promises 10 paid sick days, higher minimum wage – Mar 26, 2022

The Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca released a plank of his party’s 2022 election platform during an event in Toronto on Saturday.

The policies, which include promises around the minimum wage and paid sick days, were coined a “plan for economic dignity.”

Del Duca unveiled the plan surrounded by supporters and candidates at the party’s first in-person event of 2022.

Read more: Ontario’s upcoming provincial election holds many uncertainties

He pledged to raise the minimum wage in Ontario to $16 per hour by Jan. 1, 2023, if elected premier.

He said the party would “urgently” develop a “living wage structure” that provides pay that corresponds to where Ontarians live in the province.

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A regionally-adjusted living wage could be as high as $22 an hour in Toronto, advocates have said.

In January, the conservative Ontario government raised the minimum wage from $14.35 to $15 per hour, and from $12.55 per hour to $15 for liquor servers.

The NDP has also promised a $16 minimum wage as of Oct. 1, with plans to raise it to $20 an hour by 2026.

“I believe that economic dignity is far too important to be left to luck,” Del Duca told supporters.
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The announcement also included the promise of 10 sick days for Ontario workers.

The Ontario Liberal Party said it would ban employers from requiring a doctor’s note and reimburse up to $200 per day to businesses for workers who are off sick.

The party said the policy would cost approximately $800 million.

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Del Duca unveiled his policies the same day the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party rolled out its campaign slogan for 2022: “Get it done.”

“Ontario is a province of people who do things, people who build things, and people who act,” the PC Party said in a statement.

Read more: Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders to run as PC candidate

The Ontario Liberal Party is also promising to create a “package of portable benefits for all.”

The party said the package would be affordable for everyone and could be used by self-employed people, gig workers and contact workers.

Other elements of the plan include policies on gig economy workers and a two-year moratorium on corporate taxes for small businesses.

The party also promised a four-day work-week pilot.

The Ontario Liberal Party cited experts and said a the four-day work-week could improve quality of life and work-life balance.

“We’ll work with businesses and labour groups of all types to design and evaluate the model,” the party said.

If the pilot “demonstrates potential” it could be expanded across the province, creating “many more Family Day Weekends,” the Ontario Liberals promised.

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“The Ontario that I know, the Ontario that we know, doesn’t shrink from a challenge,” Del Duca said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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