From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health strategies to reduce the spread of the coronavirus recognized workplaces as a potential site of transmission. However, there remain large information gaps about workplace COVID-19 protection practices and COVID-19 transmission at work. What types of infection control practices were in place at workplaces that continued to operate? How did these practices differ across worker socioeconomic characteristics, occupational groups and types of workplaces? How many cases of COVID-19 infection have been due to workplace transmissions? Does this number, again, vary across different industries?
In this presentation, Dr. Peter Smith shares findings from two recently completed studies from a collaboration between the Institute for Work & Health and Public Health Ontario. The first describes the prevalence of infection control practices, based on Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey conducted between July and September 2020. The second study estimates rates of COVID-19 cases due to workplace outbreaks across industry groups in Ontario between April 2020 and March 2021. Findings are based on workplace outbreak data combined with accurate estimates of the number of people who continued to work at the workplace.