Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. calls for mandatory paid sick leave for workers
‘It is unacceptable that employees who are sick cannot afford to stay home,” says president Aluki Kotierk
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is calling on the Government of Nunavut to ensure mandatory paid sick leave for all workers in the territory.
NTI president Aluki Kotierk made the call in a Thursday news release, saying she’s concerned by the growing number of COVID-19 cases across Nunavut and their potential links to essential workers.
“A year into the global pandemic and it is unacceptable that employees who are sick cannot afford to stay home,” Kotierk said in the release.
“We all need to do our part to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and this is one area in which we believe the GN can make a positive impact right now as well as a lasting impact for future generations.”
Kotierk suggested the GN could enact legislation to ensure a minimum sick leave is offered to all of the territory’s employees, or offer a paid sick leave rebate program to employers in Nunavut, similar to what Yukon offers.
Premier Joe Savikataaq responded to a question about the GN’s willingness to implement paid sick leave during a Friday morning news conference, saying his government has yet to decide how to address the issue.
“We’re looking at the options now,” he told reporters. “We also had the federal sick day leave that we were looking into too, so no definite decision has been made yet.”
Savikataaq added: “If you’re sick, we ask everyone to stay home.”
When the pandemic first started, only two Canadian provinces offered paid sick leave to workers: Quebec and Prince Edward Island. Ontario has recently introduced a sick leave.
There are 78 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, including the 12 new cases announced on Friday.
— with files from Dustin Patar