TORONTO – Excellent care for children is the history of the The Hospital for Sick Children. But the hospital “leaves its sick and disabled staff in poverty,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
Unlike almost all hospital employees who are covered under the Hospitals of Ontario Disability Income Plan (HOODIP), SickKids’ staff who suffer a catastrophic or long-term illness receive significantly inferior sick leave and long-term disability provisions.
Under the current scheme provided by the hospital, an employee who with Stage 3 or Stage 4 cancer, for example would receive about $800 a month. It means that the hourly rate for these employees effectively falls to $4.92 an hour.
In Toronto, “that’s not enough to live on,” says Leonora Foster the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2816. “We have co-workers who fall into poverty or who return to work before they are recovered, because the current plan does not protect us.”
At a 12:00 noon rally Thursday, April 23 2015, several hundred hospital workers from across Ontario will support Foster’s and the front line staff at Sick Children’s efforts to secure better sick leave and disability protections under HOODIP.
“We will be there in front of the hospital in place of those employees who are too ill to work and not able to fight for a more equitable disability plan,” says Hurley.
Hurley and CUPE national president Paul Moist will be speaking at Thursday’s lunchtime rally, directly outside The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave.
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