COVID-19

COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. In short order, the world of work changed dramatically in Canada. Non-essential businesses were locked down. Some workers lost their jobs; others were sent home to work. Essential businesses kept going. Despite protections, workers in sectors ranging from health care to transportation to food production and retail faced risk of infection, illness and even death. IWH researchers are looking at the impact of the pandemic on workers and workplaces, and what it means going forward.

Featured

Workplace inspectors inspecting a workplace during COVID, as indicated by the masks they are wearing
At Work article

What research can do: Scanning how OHS authorities responded to the pandemic

A new Issue Briefing looks at common challenges in the way labour inspection authorities in developed countries around the world have responded to the pandemic
Published: December 2, 2021
Close-up of floor markings indicating six feet distances
At Work article

In most sectors, workplaces saw lower COVID transmission rates than in the community

What was the role of workplaces in contributing to COVID-19 case counts in Ontario? And what measures did workplaces across Canada put in place to reduce or prevent COVID spread? A team at IWH and Public Health Ontario draw on population-level data to find out.
Published: November 16, 2021
OHS Canada logo
IWH in the media

Analyzing the data behind workplace spread of COVID-19

According to a pair of studies conducted jointly by the Institute for Work & Health and Public Health Ontario, layers of COVID-19 infection control measures were adopted in majority of workplaces through pandemic during the second and third waves. And between April 2020 and March 2021, rates of workplace COVID-19 transmission in most sectors were lower than rates of community spread.
Published: OHS Canada, December 2021
Workplace inspectors inspecting a workplace during COVID, as indicated by the masks they are wearing
At Work article

What research can do: Scanning how OHS authorities responded to the pandemic

A new Issue Briefing looks at common challenges in the way labour inspection authorities in developed countries around the world have responded to the pandemic
Published: December 2021
Close-up of floor markings indicating six feet distances
At Work article

In most sectors, workplaces saw lower COVID transmission rates than in the community

What was the role of workplaces in contributing to COVID-19 case counts in Ontario? And what measures did workplaces across Canada put in place to reduce or prevent COVID spread? A team at IWH and Public Health Ontario draw on population-level data to find out.
Published: November 2021
The Conversation logo
IWH in the media

Lessons from COVID-19 for the next pandemic: We need better data on workplace transmission

If we had, from the early days of the pandemic, routinely and systematically collected information from COVID-positive people about their work, we would have enhanced our understanding of the role of workplaces in the spread of COVID-19, the relative importance of mitigation strategies, and potentially allowed more people to continue working at the workplace with minimal risk. That's according to an op-ed co-authored by Institute for Work & Health's Dr. Peter Smith, Prof. Andrew Curran of the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive, and Dr. Letitia Davis of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Published: The Conversation, November 2021
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

Workplace COVID-19 protections and transmission: Findings from population-level data in Canada

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. 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 type and prevalence of infection control practices at work sites that continued to operate. The second study estimates rates of COVID-19 cases due to workplace outbreaks across industry groups in Ontario between April 2020 and March 2021.
Published: October 2021
Workplace inspectors inspecting a workplace during COVID, as indicated by the masks they are wearing
Issue Briefing

Response to COVID-19: Gathering experiences of OHS authorities in developed countries

In early 2021, a group of researchers led by IWH President Dr. Cameron Mustard asked authorities responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS) in developed countries how they had, to date, addressed the COVID-19 challenge. This Issue Briefing shares what the researchers learned.
Published: August 2021
Vector of masked workers standing in front of workplaces with coronovirus surrounding them, implying impact of COVID on workers
At Work article

What research can do: Partnering on a tool to estimate occupational risks of COVID

Public Health Ontario and Institute for Work & Health collaborate on a tool to estimate the occupational exposures that put workers at risk of COVID-19
Published: August 2021
A masked worker riding a bus
At Work article

COVID worries highest among workers with both physical, mental health disabilities

People with both physical and mental health disabilities were the most concerned about their work, health and finances during the early part of the pandemic.
Published: July 2021
The Province logo
IWH in the media

Re-opening the economy should include access for young people with chronic disease

Young workers who are immunocompromised will need employers to continue to enforce COVID-19-prevention strategies. And paid sick leave will remain a priority to prevent workers from coming to work with COVID-19 symptoms, writes IWH's Dr. Arif Jetha in an op-ed.
Published: The Province, June 2021
Close-up of a hand holding a surgical mask and a laptop case
At Work article

What research can do: COVID-related research from IWH: findings to watch for

IWH pandemic-related research includes collaborations with external organizations and modifications of ongoing studies. Here's a look at the findings to come.
Published: June 2021