The prevalence and correlates of workplace infection control practices in Canada between July and September 2020

Publication type
Journal article
Smith PM, Smith BT, Warren C, Shahidi FV, Buchan S, Mustard C
Date published
2021 Nov 01
Health Reports
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: There are important information gaps concerning the prevalence and distribution of infection control practices (ICPs) within workplaces continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. DATA AND METHODS: To address these gaps, this paper examines the prevalence of workplace ICPs among employed respondents to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey in the months of July, August and September 2020 (n = 53,316). The article also seeks to identify sociodemographic, occupational and workplace factors associated with the level and type of workplace ICPs. ICPs included the reorganization of the workplace to allow for physical distancing, increased access to hand sanitizer or handwashing facilities, enhanced cleaning protocols and access to personal protective equipment. Multivariable regression models were used to examine the number of ICPs in place and the absence of specific ICPs. RESULTS: Generally high levels of reported protections among workers (15% of the sample had three ICPs and 72% had four or more ICPs) were observed. However, certain subgroups of workers were less likely to have ICPs in place. These included workers who were male; those with lower levels of education, shorter job tenure, or non-permanent work; and those working in the agricultural, construction, transportation and warehousing, and education industries. INTERPRETATION: In a large sample of Canadian employees, generally high levels of workplace ICPs to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 were observed. Groups with lower levels of ICPs included workers at the start of their employment, workers with low levels of education, and certain industry groups