Prime minister agrees to Premier John Horgan’s push for national sick-pay program

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VICTORIA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed Monday to launch a national sick-pay program, citing the persistent influence of B.C. Premier John Horgan who has been championing the issue for weeks.Trudeau said he’ll work with the premiers to create a program to provide 10 paid sick days a year during the pandemic, so workers without sick-pay won’t be financially penalized for following public health advice to stay home if they are feeling unwell in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

“The issue of paid sick leave is one that was first brought up a number of weeks ago on our first ministers call by Premier Horgan of British Columbia, who pointed out, quite rightly, when the fall comes and the flu season starts up we don’t want people who develop a sniffle to suddenly worry that they shouldn’t really go into work but they can’t afford to not go into work,” said Trudeau.

The announcement came after several weeks of lobbying by Horgan, who forced the issue onto the agenda of the past two weekly conference calls between premiers, territorial leaders and Trudeau. Horgan said he’s grateful Trudeau listened.