What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?
Ontario is an increasingly diverse province with an increasingly diverse workforce. More than one third of Ontarians have come from another country to build a better future for their families here in Ontario. We need their passion and energy to grow our economy, create good jobs, and build a better Ontario for all of us.
However, our workplace policies haven’t changed along with our workforce. If you want to celebrate the special days that are important to your culture or faith, you have to ask for permission – often without pay – or consider taking a sick day.
If we want to be a province that welcomes everyone, we have to do better. And by the way, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has ruled many times that we have the right to paid leave for days important to our culture and faith.
What are we proposing?
A future Liberal government led by Adil Shamji will introduce one new statutory holiday (with pay) for every Ontarian.
But it’s a bit different from the statutory holidays we’re used to.
Rather than one set day, each of us could choose one day of importance to us – be it Orthodox Easter or Diwali, Eid-ul Fitr or the Lunar New Year. Employees would register their choice with their employer at the beginning of the year so their absence could be planned for.
A new statutory holiday – for all of us.
Why is this important?
If we truly value our diversity, we must show it not just in words, but in actions. Giving Ontarians a new statutory holiday would show that we value them and their heritage. When workers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to stay in our province and in their jobs, and to be more productive in their work. And with employment rates at all-time highs, it’s especially important for us to attract and hold onto our workforce.
Many leading employers already do this. While there may be some initial cost, employees who are valued and respected will be more productive. And by knowing what holidays their employees are taking in advance, employers can plan for their absence.
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