The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
BC Politics

BC Commits to Paid Sick Leave by Jan. 1, But Details Still to Come

Government wants to hear from public, workers and employers on eligibility and number of paid days.

Andrew MacLeod 23 Sep 2021 |

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of All Together Healthy (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018). Find him on Twitter or reach him at .

The B.C. government is going to guarantee workers paid sick leave but has yet to decide on key details and wants to hear from the public how many days of leave should be provided.

“One thing is for sure,” Labour Minister Harry Bains told The Tyee, “there will be, for the first time in the history of British Columbia, paid sick days available to British Columbian workers starting Jan. 1, 2022.”

On Wednesday, the government launched a second round of public consultation on paid sick leave to ask whether it should cover three, five or 10 days. The paid days would be in addition to the three unpaid days for sickness or injury that are already included in the Employment Standards Act.

The survey, open until Oct. 25, makes it clear that the higher number of days meets the needs of more workers, but is seen by many employers as likely to have a “major impact on their operations.”

The survey says the sick leave would be “employer-paid days.” But Bains said the government hasn’t decided if it will help employers pay the wages of workers who are away from work because they are sick or injured.

Nor has the government decided whether the measure will extend to everyone, including part-time workers.

“In my view it should be all workers, but I don’t want to assume anything,” Bains said. “I want to hear from employers and their representatives, and workers and their representatives, and then we’ll make that decision.”

When the system is in place, it needs to be seamless so that workers don’t have to wait to be paid, he said. The government is also considering whether there should be different requirements depending on the size of the employer.

In May, the B.C. government created a temporary paid sick leave that covered up to three days, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of people going to work sick and spreading the disease because they couldn’t afford to miss a day’s pay. It also aimed to fill gaps in a temporary federal program that critics, including the province, found inadequate.

Under the measure, which expires Dec. 31, the government has been reimbursing employers up to $200 per day to help cover the wages for people off work because they were sick.

In the first round of public consultation, which closed last week after receiving 26,000 responses, the government heard that “over half of workers in British Columbia have no sick leave provisions” and “both workers and employers showed concern about workers going to work sick,” Bains said.

Many of the workers who lack paid sick days are in positions that pay lower wages, he said, adding that many are women, racialized people and immigrants.

Bains said he knows firsthand the choices workers have to make thanks to his time in the forest industry. “I remember going to work sick because I couldn’t afford to take a day off when I was sick.”

Laird Cronk, president of the BC Federation of Labour, said his organization was pleased to see 10 days as an option. “We’ll be promoting that.”

The BCFED has advocated for paid sick leave since early in the pandemic. It has suggested a model where every worker starts with three paid sick days, with the number increasing up to 10 days based on time in the job.

Cronk said outside of North America, many countries allow more paid sick time. “When you look, 10 is a modest number, and employer-paid is the model being used.”

Research the BCFED has compiled found wide benefits of paid sick leave, including that people get well quicker at home, they avoid infecting their colleagues, and they stay out of the hospital.

Ultimately, that’s also good for business, Cronk said. “A byproduct of it is it’s good for workplaces, it’s good for productivity.”

Cronk said 90 per cent of low-wage earners, many of whom are women and racialized workers in the service sector, lack access to paid sick leave. “There is an inequity of who has coverage in British Columbia, of who has sick pay,” he said, adding the government can fix that.

Whatever system is adopted needs to cover all workers and the government should reconsider requiring people to work for 90 days before they qualify for sick days, he said, noting that COVID-19 and other infectious diseases have no waiting period.

Ultimately the true test for the system will be whether a worker who thinks they might be sick is able to decide to stay home, he said. “That’s the moment we need to get into the hearts and minds of the worker.”  [Tyee]

Read more: Health, BC Politics

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.


  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Is One Art or Design Skill You Wish to Learn?

Take this week's poll