YWCA Toronto came through for women during the pandemic — at a cost

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When Heather Coley and her three sons contracted COVID-19 in late November 2020, family and friends delivered prepared meals to their doorstep, and her manager at YWCA Toronto’s Employment Centre on Eglinton Avenue East called daily to check in on the business co-ordinator, who at times was so fatigued she could barely stand. In addition to these acts of care was one meaningful form of reprieve that let her focus on getting well again: Knowing she had 10 paid COVID (or additional) sick days from YWCA Toronto.

“When I immigrated to Canada in 2001, I worked (temp-agency) jobs where if I was too sick to work, I would still have had to go to work in order to take care of my family,” she says. “Just knowing I had the time, that I didn’t have to worry that I wasn’t going to get paid, that was a very big help.”