Sick Day Rights

Your workplace may have its own policies regarding sick days and personal emergencies, but it’s important for you to know your legal rights. Canadians: here is what is guaranteed for you in your province or territory.

The federal government is currently calling for ten (10) paid sick days for every Canadian employee while we’re living through a pandemic, giving every employee the ability to self-isolate for a full two weeks without financial stress. This is still up for debate. Some regions are interested, and others are rejecting the idea.

“Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries,” said Trudeau. “That’s why the government will continue discussions with the provinces, without delay, on ensuring that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, every worker in Canada who needs it has access to 10 days of paid sick leave a year.”

The best way to prevent the spread of illness when you’re already sick is to stay home and keep sick kids out of the classroom.

This page is limited to the best available information about short-term leaves and focuses mainly on illness, family responsibility, and bereavement. We’ve included links to each government’s pages to help you find more details about both short and long-term leaves. We’ve also included information about how to contact your provincial representative, premier, and relevant ministers with any questions and concerns.

Here are each province and territory’s total paid and unpaid days for illness, family emergency, and bereavement at a glance. See how your region compares and read further for the breakdowns. Links to each province and territory can be found below the table.

Province/TerritoryPaidUnpaidTotal
Alberta088
British Columbia01111
Manitoba066
New Brunswick01313
Newfoundland and Labrador1910
Northwest Territories08-128-12
Nova Scotia088
Nunavut***
Ontario088
Prince Edward Island0-2*8-9*9-10*
Quebec2-41-33-7
Saskatchewan01717
Yukon01919

Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Nunavut
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon

Alberta

Alberta Provincial Flag

Employees in Alberta are entitled to a total of eight (8) unpaid days in a calendar year for personal or family needs and bereavement. Employees must have been employed for 90 calendar days to be guaranteed protected leave. These eight days are allocated for specific uses, as follows:

You are entitled to five (5) unpaid days for personal and family emergency leave. Details for eligibility are listed here.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for bereavement upon a family member’s death.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic Alberta has put in place temporary policy for a 14-day leave for quarantine, as well as other information regarding long-term needs and workplace changes. Find the details here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Alberta, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers are entitled to ask for doctor’s notes or evidence of the reason for your absence in the province of Alberta.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, and the section specifically about leaves is here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Alberta? Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Jason Kenney (Calgary – Lougheed)

MINISTER OF HEALTH:
Tyler Shandro (Calgary – Acadia)

MINISTER OF LABOUR AND IMMIGRATION:
Jason Copping (Calgary – Varsity)

British Columbia

British Columbia Flag

Employees in British Columbia are entitled to a total of eleven (11) unpaid days in a calendar year for personal illness or injury, family responsibility, or bereavement. Employees must have been employed for 90 calendar days to qualify. These 11 days are allocated for specific uses, as follows:

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for personal illness.

You are entitled to five (5) unpaid days for family responsibility to be used for the care, health or education of a child in their care, or any other member of their immediate family.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for bereavement. These days do not need to be consecutive.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic British Columbia has put in place protections for employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19. The policy is retroactive to January 27, 2020, and the full details can be found here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in British Columbia, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers are entitled to ask for doctor’s notes or evidence of the reason for your absence in the province of British Columbia.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, and the section specifically about leaves is here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in British Columbia? Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
John Horgan ( Langford — Juan de Fuca )

MINISTER OF HEALTH:
Adrian Dix ( Vancouver — Kingsway )

MINISTER OF LABOUR
Harry Bains ( Surrey — Newton )

Manitoba

Manitoba Flag

Employees in Manitoba are entitled to a total of six (6) unpaid days in a calendar year for personal or family needs and bereavement. Employees must have been employed for 30 days to be guaranteed protected leave. These six days are allocated for specific uses, as follows:

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for family leave. These days are to be used for personal illness or family responsibilities.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for bereavement upon a family member’s death.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic Manitoba has put in place protections for employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19. Details can be found here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Manitoba, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers are entitled to ask for doctor’s notes or evidence of the reason for your absence in the province of Manitoba. An example of what you might be asked for in the case of bereavement is an obituary.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, and the section specifically about leaves is here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Manitoba? Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Brian Pallister (Fort Whyte)

MINISTER OF HEALTH, SENIORS, AND ACTIVE LIVING:
Cameron Friesen (Morden — Winkler)

MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING:
Ralph Eichler (Lakeside)

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Flag

Employees in New Brunswick are entitled to a total of thirteen (13) unpaid days in a calendar year for personal illness or injury, family responsibility, or bereavement. Employees must have been employed for 90 calendar days to qualify for sick leave. These 13 days are allocated for specific uses, as follows:

You are entitled to five (5) unpaid days for personal illness.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for family responsibility to be used for the health, care or education needs of a person in a close family relationship.

You are entitled to five (5) unpaid days for bereavement. These days must be consecutive, beginning no later than the day of the funeral.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic New Brunswick has put in place protections for employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19. The policy is retroactive to March 12, 2020, and the full details can be found here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in New Brunswick, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers in New Brunswick are entitled to ask for doctor’s notes for an illness lasting four (4) consecutive days.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, and the section specifically about leaves is here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in New Brunswick? Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Blaine Higgs (Quispamsis)

MINISTER OF HEALTH:
Hugh J.A. (Ted) Flemming (Rothesay)

MINISTER OF POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND LABOUR:
Trevor Holder (Portland — Simonds)

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Flag

Employees in Newfoundland and Labrador are entitled to a total of nine (9) unpaid days and one (1) paid day in a calendar year for personal or family needs and bereavement. Employees must have been employed by the same employer for 30 continuous calendar days to be guaranteed protected leave. These ten days are allocated for specific uses, as follows:

You are entitled to seven (7) unpaid days for personal and family emergency leave.

You are entitled to one (1) paid and two (2) unpaid days for bereavement upon a family member’s death.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic Newfoundland and Labrador has put in place protections for employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19. The policy is retroactive to March 14, 2020, and the full details can be found here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Newfoundland and Labrador, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers are entitled to ask for a doctor’s note if an illness lasts three (3) or more consecutive days. If leave is needed for three (3) or more consecutive days for family responsibility, an employee can be asked to provide a written outline of the nature of the reason for leave.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, with links bringing you directly to each section providing more details about each type of leave.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Newfoundland and Labrador? Reach out to your MHA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find my MHA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Dwight Ball (Humber – Gros Morne)

MINISTER OF HEALTH AND COMMUNITY SERVICES:
John Haggie (Gander)

MINISTER OF ADVANCED EDUCATION, SKILLS, AND LABOUR:
Christopher Mitchelmore ( St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows )

Northwest Territories

North West Territories Flag

Employees in the Northwest Territories are entitled to a total of eight to twelve (8-12) unpaid days in a 12 month period for illness and bereavement. These 8-12 days are allocated for specific uses, as follows:

You are entitled to five (5) unpaid days for illness.

You are entitled to  three to seven (3-7) unpaid days for bereavement upon a family member’s death. The length of time permitted depends on the where the service takes place.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in the Northwest Territories, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers are entitled to ask for a doctor’s note in the Northwest Territories.

The government’s website detailing employee’s rights regarding leaves and other important information can be found here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in the Northwest Territories? Reach out to your MLA. All current MLAs are listed here. At the time of last update we’ve been unable to find an online tool for determining who your MLA is in the NWT.

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Caroline Cochrane (Range Lake)

MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES:
Diane Thom (Inuvik Boot Lake)

MINISTER OF EDUCATION, CULTURE, AND EMPLOYMENT:
R.J. Simpson (Hay River North)

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Flag

Employees in Nova Scotia are entitled to a total of eight (8) unpaid days each year for illness or family responsibility and bereavement. These eight days are allocated as follows:

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for illness and family responsibility. These can be used for personal illness or to care for a family member. They can also be used for medical, dental, or similar appointments.

You are entitled to  five (5) consecutive unpaid days for bereavement upon a family member’s death. Explicitly defined family members include the following: spouse, parent, guardian, child / child under their care, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law.

*COVID-19*: The province of Nova Scotia has prepared this information regarding COVID-19. Click here to learn about public health directives, working safely, and employee support during this pandemic.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Nova Scotia, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Because of COVID-19, sick notes have been eliminated in Nova Scotia at this time, but employers were entitled to ask for them until the beginning of the pandemic.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, including details about all types of leaves.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Nova Scotia? Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

MINISTER OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS:
Randy Delorey (Antigonish)

MINISTER OF LABOUR AND ADVANCED EDUCATION:
Labi Kousoulis ( Halifax Citadel — Sable Island )

Nunavut

Nunavut Flag

Sick leave is accumulated in Nunavut. For each month of work in which they receive ten (10) or more days’ pay, employees earn and accumulate one and one quarter (1.25) days.

Part-time employees earn one and one quarter (1.25) days for every month in which they earn 50% or more of salary.

Employees who have necessary sick leave credits will be granted sick leave with pay for illness or injury on a normal working day, with a completed sick leave form to support the request.

Accumulated sick leave can be carried over from year to year.

*COVID-19*: Nunavut has prepared this information regarding COVID-19. Click here to learn about public health directives, working safely, and employee support during this pandemic.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Nunavut, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Because of COVID-19, sick notes have been eliminated in Nova Scotia at this time, but employers were entitled to ask for them until the beginning of the pandemic.

The government’s website can be found here, and the section specifically about sick leave is here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Nunavut?  Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can use this map to find your constituency and then find your representative: List of MLAs

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Joe Savikataaq ( Arviat South )

MINISTER OF HEALTH:
George Hickes ( Iqaluit-Tasiluk )

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR LABOUR:
Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak ( Cambridge Bay )

Ontario

Ontario Flag

As of 2018, employees in Ontario are entitled to eight (8) unpaid days in a calendar year for illness, personal emergency, or bereavement. Employees are eligible after two consecutive weeks of employment. It’s important to note that these days can not not be used as needed and have been allocated for you.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for personal illness.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for personal emergency (a sick child, flooded basement, etc.).

You are entitled to two (2) unpaid days for bereavement.

Absence taken for part of the day (leaving work for illness, emergency, or appointment) can be counted as a full day under current legislation.

Please note that previous policies allowing for two (2) paid days and eight (8) unpaid days to be used as needed are no longer applicable, as of the passing of Bill 47 by the current government.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic Ontario has put in place protections for employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19. This details of this policy are quite extensive. To find out if you’re eligible, read here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Ontario, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: As of 2018, employers are entitled to ask employees for evidence of the reason for their absence. Bill 47 is non-specific, so in most cases the understanding is that you’ll be asked for a doctor’s note, but you may be asked for proof of reasons for absence in other cases. *The practice of allowing employers to require a doctor’s note is temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.

The government’s website for Employment Standards can be found here, and the section specifically about leaves is here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Ontario? Reach out to your MPP. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MPP

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Doug Ford (Etobicoke North)

MINISTER OF HEALTH:
Christine Elliott (Newmarket — Aurora)

MINISTER OF LABOUR, TRAINING, AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT:
Monte McNaughton (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex)

For more information about your rights, or if you’re looking to take, reach out to Fight for $15 and Fairness, a Toronto-based advocacy group working to raise the minimum wage and increase the number of guaranteed sick days in Ontario.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island Flag

Eligible employees in Prince Edward Island are entitled to zero to two (0-2) paid and eight to nine (8-9) unpaid days in a twelve (12) month period for illness, family responsibility, and bereavement. Eligibility and allotment of days are as follows:

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for personal illness after three months continuous service. Employees who have been with the same employer for five (5) continuous years are further entitled to one (1) paid day for personal illness, in addition to their three unpaid days.

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for family leave to meet responsibilities for immediate or extended family members. The policy defines family members as follows:

Immediate family member:

  • spouse
  • child
  • parent
  • brother or sister

Extended family member:

  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • aunt/uncle
  • brother-in-law/sister-in-law
  • mother-in-law/father-in-law
  • son-in-law/daughter-in-law

You are entitled to one (1) paid and two (2) unpaid days for bereavement leave following the loss of an immediate family member, defined as above.

OR

You are entitled to three (3) unpaid days for bereavement leave following the loss of an extended family member, defined as above.

*Special provisions for COVID-19*: In response to the pandemic the province of Prince Edward Island has created guidelines to protect health and safety during this time. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time on Prince Edward Island, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Your employer is entitled to ask for a doctor’s note or medical certificate if you’re absent for three (3) consecutive days.

The government’s website detailing employee’s rights regarding leaves and other important information can be found here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies on Prince Edward Island?  Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can use this page to find your district and then your representative: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Dennis King ( Brackley — Hunter River )

MINISTER OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS:
James Aylward ( Stratford — Keppoch )

Quebec

Quebec Flag

Employees in Quebec are entitled to protected days for illness and family responsibilities, and also for bereavement. Details and eligibility are as follows:

You are entitled to two (2) paid days for personal illness and family responsibility leave. These days can be used if you’re sick or need to care for a family member, or other emergencies. Employees are eligible after three months of uninterrupted service.

You are entitled to two (2) paid and three (3) unpaid days for bereavement upon the death of:

  • spouse
  • child
  • spouse’s child
  • parent or sibling

You are entitled to one (1) unpaid day for bereavement upon the death of:

  • son-in-law or daughter-in-law
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • spouse’s parent or sibling

*Special provisions for COVID-19*: In response to the pandemic the province of Quebec has created guidelines to protect health and safety during this time. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Quebec, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers are entitled to ask for a doctor’s note in Quebec.

The government’s website detailing employee’s rights regarding leaves and other important information can be found here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Quebec?  Reach out to your MNA. If you don’t know who that is, you can use these pages to find your division and then your representative:

Find My Electoral Division
Find My MNA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Francois Legault ( L’Assomption )

MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES:
Lionel Carmant ( Taillon)

MINISTER OF LABOUR, EMPLOYMENT, AND SOCIAL SOLIDARITY:
Jean Boulet ( Trois-Rivières )

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Flag

Employees in Saskatchewan are entitled to a total of seventeen (17) unpaid days in a calendar year for personal or family needs and bereavement.

You are entitled to twelve (12) unpaid days for personal and family emergency leave. Employees are eligible after a minimum of 13 weeks of employment with the same employer.

You are entitled to five (5) unpaid days for bereavement upon a family member’s death, and ‘must be taken within the period beginning one week before and ending one week after the funeral relating to the death to which the leave is granted’.

*Special provisions for COVID-19*: In response to the pandemic the province of Saskatchewan has created guidelines and emergency leave provisions to protect health and safety during this time. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in Saskatchewan, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Under normal circumstances employers are entitled to request doctor’s notes in Saskatchewan. The province has suspended this practice because of the pandemic.

The government’s website detailing employee’s rights regarding leaves and other important information can be found here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in Saskatchewan? Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can find them through this page: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Scott Moe ( Rosthern-Shellbrook )

MINISTER OF HEALTH:
Jim Reiter ( Rosetown-Elrose )

MINISTER OF LABOUR RELATIONS AND WORKPLACE SAFETY:
Don Morgan ( Saskatoon Southeast )

Yukon

Yukon Territory Flag

Employees in the Yukon are entitled to up to twelve (12) unpaid days for personal illness in a calendar year. Eligibility for sick days is acquired at a rate of one unpaid day for each month of continuous employment. Sick days can not be carried over to the next year.

You are entitled to up to one week / seven (7) consecutive unpaid days for bereavement upon the death of a member of your immediate family, provided the funeral falls within that week. You are also entitled for this leave if you’ve been designated by the family of a deceased member of a First Nation as the person responsible for organizing the funeral potlatch for the deceased.

*NEW COVID-19 Leave*: In response to the pandemic the Yukon has put in place temporary policy for a 14-day unpaid leave for quarantine, as well as other information regarding long-term needs and workplace changes. Find the details here.

Employers may have more generous policies than the minimum afforded to you by the current government, but these are the basic legal required minimums at this time in the Yukon, and any days taken beyond these minimums are unprotected. Consult with your workplace to see if they have policies that extend beyond the minimum required by the province.

Sick notes / evidence: Employers in the Yukon are entitled to request a doctor’s note.

The government’s website detailing employee’s rights regarding leaves and other important information can be found here.

Do you have questions or concerns about the sick day policies in the Yukon?  Reach out to your MLA. If you don’t know who that is, you can use this page to find your district and then your representative: Find My MLA

You can also contact the following:

PREMIER:
Sandy Silver ( Klondike )

MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES:
Pauline Frost ( Vuntut Gwitchin )

Do you see anything that needs an update or correction? Please reach out using the contact form at the bottom of our Resources page. Thank you for your help!

Last updated June 12, 2020.