By Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter (North Island Gazette)

Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says the federal NDP government is determined to see that every working Canadian has 10 paid sick days.

“We’ve explained to the Liberals that if they are not willing to support this process, we will not be willing to support them going forward,” she said in a teleconference Monday (May 25).

On the same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government will work with the provinces to make 10 paid sick days a reality.

“What the Liberals put forward was largely influenced by negotiations we had with them,” Blaney said.

No time frame has yet been announced.

The first step is to make immediate financial support available for workers to have paid sick days during the coronavirus pandemic, Blaney said.

Employment standards are a provincial jurisdiction, but Blaney argues the federal government does have a role to play by starting the conversation.

“The pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in the system, and this is an opportunity to fix it quickly.” she said.

Parliament will sit four days per week until June, and agreed to meet four times during the summer. Normally, Parliament breaks over summer, but in light of the pandemic it will meet periodically to stay on top of developments.