Federal government set to announce financial help for sick, self-isolated Canadians
VANCOUVER -- CTV News has learned the federal government will make an announcement about COVID-19 funding on Wednesday morning that will include changes to employment insurance meant to help people who’ve been told to stay home because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Currently, B.C. employers are not legally required to pay workers who are home sick or who've been told to self-isolate for 14 days due to possible virus contact. That leaves some people with a tough decision to make.
"Do I go to work while I'm sick, or do I stay home? Because they're worried about paying the rent. They're worried about losing their job if they don’t go to work," said Laird Cronk, the president of the B.C. Federation of Labour.
He worries some workers may even be hesitant to see a doctor for fear of being placed in self-isolation with no pay.
"What we don't want to see is workers who are feeling sick saying, 'I'm worried I'm going to be in this two-week quarantine if I say something, so I'm going to go to work. I don’t want to lose my apartment, or not be able to buy groceries for my child or my family,'" he said.
News the federal government will be making an announcement Wednesday morning to compensate people who are told to stay home is welcome news for B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
"This has been a concern," said Henry. "We have been supporting people provincially, but we're looking forward to the federal government coming in with measures that will help people do what we need them to do as well."
"The federal government in previous outbreaks, for example, SARS in Toronto in 2003, has taken similar action, and we look forward to what they announce tomorrow," said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
The announcement is also expected to include money for research and for provinces that are battling COVID-19 outbreaks.