KITCHENER -- A bill that would guarantee 10 paid sick days per year for all workers in Ontario was voted down 20 to 55 at Queen’s Park Monday.

Out of the seven local MPPs, only three were present at Queen’s Park and able to vote on Bill 247 due to COVID-19 protocols.

Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife voted in favour of the bill. In a statement, she said in part, “It is clearer than ever that the province needs to do the right thing and provide Ontario’s workers with the ability to stay home if they are sick… Paid sick days are a key tool for slowing and stopping this cycle of transmission.”

Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner also voted for paid sick days. In a statement, he said in part, “The public health experts are clear: paid sick days are vital to helping contain workplace outbreaks, save lives and reduce stress on the health care system... What we need is a comprehensive safe workplaces plan to protect essential workers. This includes paid sick days, mandated medical grade PPE, rapid testing, and mobile on-site vaccine clinics at high-risk workplaces.”

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris voted against the bill. In a statement, Harris said in part, “Absolutely no one should have to choose between their job and their health. However, we cannot cripple businesses at a time when they need our support… Bill 247 would require employers to pay out of their own pocket.”

Harris noted that paid sick days are available through Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit, a program that does not place additional burdens on small businesses.

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott was present at Queen’s Park, but as the speaker. In a statement, he said in part, “the speaker must be impartial, and cannot make any public statements expressing a position on any issues which are being considered by the house, or are likely to be debated in the house.”

Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee and Kitchener-Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo said they were unable to vote due to pandemic protocols that prevented all MPPs from attending legislature.

In a statement, Fee said in part, “We have stepped up and offered to immediately double payments for all Ontario workers up to $1,000 a week for four weeks. Working with the federal government is the simplest and fastest way to get payments to workers in need.”

In a statement, Lindo said in part, “The NDP and I are 100 per cent in support of paid sick days — in fact, we’ve led the fight for paid sick days. We tabled a bill in 2020 calling for government-funded pandemic sick days, have moved motions again and again, and have voted yes 25 times in 2021 so far.”

Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios told CTV News she was away from the legislature on Monday because she had to accompany her husband to a medical appointment.

"Small business owners have had to shoulder tremendous costs with more than 25,000 business having to close their doors over the last year as a result of Doug Ford's arbitrary application of emergency measures. Small businesses simply can't afford the costs of additional government mandated programs," her statement said in part.