They made doors, gum and jerry cans. Ontario’s ‘essential’ workers in manufacturing accounted for more workplace COVID deaths than any other sector — even health care workers, according to new research.
It started with the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, and has now created two of the largest labour sectors in the country, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
The labour productivity in COVID-19 has been much greater than usual, with no cases of the virus ever being reported in Canada before. That’s because the workforce has been able to work anywhere as they were able to work at home.
Nathalie Des Rosiers said she hopes workers are taking steps to protect themselves against the coronavirus. (Katherine Fisher/CBC)
One in three deaths among Ontario workers
The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to think about the role of the workplace in the current fight against the virus.
It’s difficult to get a handle on exactly how many deaths are related to COVID-19 because it’s a new virus that’s never been seen in Canada.
But the official numbers aren’t far off from what Des Rosiers’ organization CEMRA says the numbers are.
CEMRA surveyed workers across Ontario to get a sense of what workers are dealing with.
According to the organization, the labour productivity is two to three times higher than usual, partly due to the nature of the COVID-19 virus, which is highly infectious but the majority of the deaths have been related to other co-morbid illnesses.
“The reality is that while there is no known vaccine or remedy that has been proven effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, we can all take some action now to minimize the chance we will contract or transmit it,” Des Rosiers said.
Workers have been working from home since the pandemic began, as well as doing all the essential tasks that people normally do in a workplace, such as taking care of family and children, Des Rosiers said.
The organization surveyed more than 14,000 workers in order to get a sense of the virus’ impact on workers.