‘Tis the Season

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Now that cold and flu season is upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit Canadians’ statutory entitlements to paid and unpaid sick days.  Federally regulated employees were recently granted 10 paid sick days per year and Prince Edward Island just introduced Bill 106 (a private member’s bill), which if passed, would grant employees up to 5 paid sick days minimum.  Time will tell if these changes become a trend across Canada.  For now, the following is a summary of the minimum standards for sick day entitlements per calendar year:

Province/TerritoryPaid Sick DaysUnpaid Sick DaysEligibility Requirements
AlbertaNone16 weeks (112 days)90 days of employment
Medical certificate
Written notice of leave and estimated return to work date
British Columbia5 days3 days90 consecutive days of employment
ManitobaNone17 weeks (119 days) 190 days of employment
Leave taken in one (1) continuous period 2
Physician’s certificate 3
Notice of intent to take leave
New BrunswickNone5 days90 days of employment
Notice of the duration of the leave
Newfoundland and LabradorNone7 days 430 continuous days of employment
Medical certificate (if 3 or more consecutive days of sick leave)
Northwest TerritoriesNone5 days 5Employed by the employer for at least 30 days
Submit a request for sick leave advising of the (expected) duration
If the duration of leave exceeds three (3) consecutive days and the employer requests a medical certificate, the employee must provide it, stating they are incapable of working due to illness or injury.
Nova ScotiaNone3 daysNone
NunavutNoneNoneNone
OntarioNone3 days 62 consecutive weeks of employment
Employee must advise the employer of the sick leave
Prince Edward Island1 day 73 days 83 months of continuous employment
Notice of intent to take leave and expected duration
Quebec2 days26 weeks (182 days) 9 for sickness or accidentEligible for paid days only after 3 months of uninterrupted service.
104 weeks (728 days) for injury due to a crime 10
SaskatchewanNone12 days where illness or injury is not seriousAt least 13 weeks of continuous service.
12 weeks (84 days) where illness or injury is serious 11
YukonNone1 day per month the employee has been employed by the employer, less the number of days on which the employee has previously been absent due to illness or injury. None
Maximum of 12 days
Federally3 days (after 30 days of continuous employment)27 weeks (189 days)Written notice of leave (start date and length of leave)
1 day earned at the beginning of each month after the first 30 days of employmentEmployees who take at least 5 consecutive days of paid sick leave may be required to provide medical certificates within 15 days of their return to work.
10 days earned, maximum
[1] Entitlement in a 52-week period.
[2] Unless the parties agree otherwise or a collective agreement provides otherwise.
[3] The certificate must provide evidence and indicate that the employee is not able to work for a period of at least two (2) weeks because of serious injury or illness.
[4] Entitlement in a year.
[5] Entitlement for each 12-month period.
[6] If an employment contract provides for something similar to sick leave (i.e. sick days) and the employee takes leave under the employment contract, the employee is considered to have also taken their statutory sick leave.
[7] Only for employees with 5+ years of continuous service.
[8] Entitlement for a 12-month period.
[9] Entitlement in a 12-month period.
[10] Not applicable to employment injuries within the meaning of the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational disease.
[11] Entitlement in a 52-week period. Could be extended to 26 weeks (182 days) of leave if the employee is receiving compensation pursuant to The Workers’ Compensation Act.

The proposed legislation in Prince Edward Island. Bill 106, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act would improve on the current entitlements.  Specifically, it proposes:

  • 3 days of paid sick leave after 90 days of continuous employment; and
  • 2 additional days of paid sick leave after 180 days of continuous employment with the same employer.

Employees can earn a maximum of 5 paid sick days per calendar year, as opposed to the 1 paid sick day they currently receive after five (5) years or more of continuous employment.  As of the date of publication, the private members Bill has not passed.

In contrast, employees in Ontario lost some paid leave days this year. As of March 31, 2023, the three (3) days of paid leave for medical treatment related to COVID-19 (including receiving the vaccine or recovering from any side effects) was no longer being provided under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

The article in this update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. This publication is copyrighted by Hunter Liberatore Law LLP and may not be photocopied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Hunter Liberatore Law LLP. ©

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