STATEMENT – Small Businesses Disappointed in Inadequate and Unfair WIPB Plan

April 29, 2021

We are small business owners who have been providing paid sick leave since before the pandemic, some since the day we opened. We are disappointed to hear that the Ford government’s plan only includes three days, a wholly inadequate number even in the absence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are especially dismayed to learn that not only will large companies who don’t need the help be paid out of taxpayer funds for these days, but any small business owner who already has a paid sick day allowance in place will not be similarly reimbursed.

We have repeatedly called for a legislated paid sick leave scheme as a way to level the playing field for small businesses trying to compete with ultra-profitable mega corporations. The plan announced yesterday tilts the playing field even more unfairly against us. It rewards those corporate giants who refused to provide paid sick leave until they were forced to while penalizing the small businesses that have been doing the right thing – many since long before this current pandemic.

By focusing on the wrong criteria, the Ford government is enhancing corporate subsidies at the expense of small businesses and working Ontarians, many of whom are employed by the small businesses who are again being left behind by this government.

Whether a company offered paid sick leave prior to the introduction of this plan is irrelevant to whether they need financial support now. Targeted financial support should be available for businesses with actual need: small businesses, with much thinner margins and lower revenues than the big chains who have profited off of this pandemic and are yet again being rewarded at our expense.

We will continue to do the right thing and provide paid sick leave for our staff – it’s good for our businesses, our communities and the economy. But the fact that small businesses like ours have been again sacrificed in order to prioritize the interests of corporate giants shows that it was never “burden on small business” that this government was worried about.

Small businesses have had to bear the brunt of many of the corporate-friendly actions of this government throughout this pandemic, and this is another example.

About the Better Way Alliance: The Better Way Alliance is a growing movement of businesses supporting decent wages, paid sick days, and fair scheduling laws. Decent work is good for business. Our members employ more than 30,000 Ontarians. Industries represented include services, retail, food and beverage, and manufacturing.

Click here for this statement in pdf.