Sick Leave Across Canada

March 31, 2020

Rules around sick leave differ across Canada and legislative changes are happening quickly. These are the most up-to-date numbers.

Canada’s unions have called on the provincial, territorial and federal governments to provide immediate income supports to workers affected by COVID-19 quarantine and closures. We have also called for employers to permit flexible working arrangements and provide paid sick leave while maintaining drug coverage.

Nationally, under the Canada Labour Code: 5 days of leave in a calendar year for sick leave or related to the health or care of any of their family members, includes 3 paid days after 3 months of continuous employment.

Yukon, under the Yukon Employment Standards Act: 1 unpaid day of sick leave every month the employee has been employed by that employer, less the number of days on which the employee has previously been absent due to illness or injury, up to a maximum of 12 days.

Northwest Territories: 5 unpaid days in each 12-month period for sick leave or family responsibility leave in a year after 30 continuous days of employment with the same employer.

Nunavut: Unclear.

British Columbia: 5 unpaid days of leave relating to the care or health of a child in the employee’s care or another member of the employee’s immediate family.

Alberta: 5 unpaid days of leave in a calendar year for sick leave, or for family care responsibilities after 90 days of employment with the same employer.

For COVID-19: 14 unpaid days of leave with no requirement of a specific term of employment or doctor’s note, retroactive to March 5, 2020. This applies to part-time and full-time workers but does not apply to the self-employed or contractors.

Saskatchewan: Under the Saskatchewan Employment Act, 0 days of paid leave and 12 days of unpaid sick leave or for the care of family members.

For COVID-19, an unspecified number of unpaid days of leave for isolation, quarantine or to care for dependents with no requirement for a medical note or for a specific employment period, and retroactive to March 6, 2020.

Manitoba: Under the Manitoba Employment Standards Code, 3 unpaid days of leave in a year for sick leave or for family care responsibilities after 30 days of employment with the same employer.

Ontario: Under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 3 unpaid days of leave in a calendar year for a personal illness, injury or medical emergency after two consecutive weeks of employment with the same employer; 3 unpaid days of leave for illness, injury or medical emergency of a family member after two consecutive weeks with the same employer; and, 8 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a family member that has a serious medical condition.

For COVID-19, an unspecified number of unpaid days for those who are in isolation or quarantine, or those who need to be away from work to care for family and children because of school or daycare closures. These measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020, with no requirement for a specific period of employment or for a medical note.

Quebec: Under an Act Respecting Labour Standards, 2 paid days of leave to take care of a relative or person with whom they act as an informal caregiver or in the case of sickness after 3 months of employment; 10 days per year to fulfil obligations relating to the care, health or education of the employee’s child or the child of the employee’s spouse, or because of the state of health of a relative or a person for whom the employee acts as a caregiver and the first 2 days shall be paid according to a formula, and after 3 months of continuous employment.

For COVID-19: Residents of Quebec 18 and over who are isolating because they have symptoms or have tested positive, have been in contact with an infected person; or, have travelled outside of the country may be granted $573 per week for a period of 14 days of isolation or up to 28 days if justified, if they are not receiving compensation from their employer, private insurance or another government program. The order to self-isolate must be given by the Government of Canada, the Gouvernement du Quebec or another responsible authority. To apply, residents must register here.

New Brunswick: Under the New Brunswick Employment Standards Act, 5 unpaid days of leave in a calendar year for sick leave after 90 days of employment and 3 unpaid days of leave in a calendar year for family care responsibility leave.

Nova Scotia: Under the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code, 3 unpaid days of leave in a year for leave due to the sickness of a child, parent or family member; or for medical, dental or other similar appointments during working hours.

Prince Edward Island: Under the Prince Edward Island Employment Standards Act, 3 unpaid days of leave in a calendar year for sick leave after 3 months of continuous employment; 1 paid day of leave in a calendar year, in addition to any unpaid leave that the worker is entitled to, after five continuous years of employment; and, 3 unpaid days of leave in a calendar year for family care responsibility leave after six continuous months with the same employer.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Under the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Standards Act, 7 unpaid days of leave for sick leave or family responsibility leave in a year after 30 continuous days of employment with the same employer.

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