OTTAWA – John Rafferty MP (Thunder Bay–Rainy River) tabled a bill in the House of Commons today designed to help workers. Rafferty’s private members bill will extend the eligibility period – from 12 weeks to 52 weeks – during which a worker suffering from a serious illness or injury is able to return to their job without fear of losing their position.
When tabling the bill Rafferty said he is concerned for injured and ill workers who require more than the 12 weeks leave that they presently have under the Canada Labour Code. “We are talking about people with catastrophic physical injuries that require extensive rehabilitation, who are being treated for serious illnesses like cancer, and those suffering from depression or other forms of mental illness that may require more than 12 weeks to recover,” he said.
Despite providing for a full year recover for injured and ill workers Rafferty said his bill would not have any negative effect upon employers. “There is only one clause in the bill, so nothing is changing beyond the period allowed for the recovery of the worker,” he said. “If an employer needs to fill the position temporarily, then they are still free to do so with the only difference being that the period in question could be as long as 52 weeks instead of 12.”
“This bill is important for individual workers, and their families, who depend upon them being able to return to the workforce after they have fully recovered,” Rafferty added. “I hope this bill, if passed or adopted by another MP or the government, will give all injured and ill workers some peace of mind during their recovery and enable them to rejoin the workforce when they are healthy and fully recovered rather than jeopardizing their health and livelihood by trying to meet the current and often unrealistic 12 week deadline.”