The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the importance of having accurate data on workplace exposure to infectious diseases. Efforts to estimate infection rates of COVID-19 during the public health emergency were hampered by inadequate information on key factors, such as whether an infected worker had worked remotely, worked on-site, interacted with the public, among others.
In this presentation, Dr. Peter Smith shares results from a study on the relationship between occupational exposures and risk of work-related COVID-19. The study combined workers’ compensation claims information from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board with labour force estimates from Statistics Canada. This use of combined data sources allowed Smith’s research team to examine the risk of COVID-19 infections that were definitely work-related, while accurately taking into account changes in labour market participation—including working from home—during different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.