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 and defence.
We need to remember that the coronavirus pandemic is not just a healthcare crisis, it is an economic and social crisis that has exposed just how out of touch our leaders are with how ordinary people are living during this time.
We are seeing daily news of social distancing orders and school closures while grocery stores are still out of food and the unemployment rate is skyrocketing. Even in Ontario, where one of the most vulnerable populations are laid-off workers, the news is mostly that government is helping their families, not that they are struggling to make ends meet.
The fact that workers who made the Canadian economy possible during this pandemic are at one point losing their employment and are forced to take leave from work is inexcusable and is an outrage. And we have to do something about it, as we should.
In fact, if we are serious about protecting the vulnerable, we have to remember that Ontario has the most vulnerable populations in our society. Ontario workers, specifically ‘essential’ workers, account for more workplace deaths during the pandemic than any other sector.
It turns out the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a healthcare crisis, it is an economic and social crisis that has exposed just how out of touch our leaders are with how ordinary people are living during this time.
At a time of increasing pressure on the economy, and increasing stress on the economic security of the precarious workers, the story of the Ontario essential workers who have died is deeply troubling.
Since Ontario started its own public COVID-19 data reporting centre on January 22, we have had the opportunity to report on this and this is what we have found:
Ontario’s essential workers have accounted for more than 10,000 deaths in the province, with close to 1,000 (1.5 per cent) of those deaths due to COVID-19, which is more than the percentage of COVID-19