All Canadians need access to two weeks of sick-leave benefits as provinces start moving to reopen their economies while fighting COVID-19, and the federal government should pay for it, the federal New Democrats say.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Wednesday that workers without sick leave who are put back on the job during the pandemic will be left to decide between protecting others from infection and paying their bills.

“We need paid sick leave, there is no question about it. It should no longer be an option,” Singh said Wednesday.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has been reminding people almost daily to stay home when they’re sick, even with mild symptoms, or else risk further transmission of COVID-19.

The government should be paying people to do just that, Singh said, and suggested the cost could be covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the employment insurance system.

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The NDP pitched the idea to the Liberals but they declined to include it in a bill presented to the House of Commons Wednesday, in the weekly opportunity to pass legislation. Singh tried to put the idea forward as a motion himself,

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