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

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Peter Smith
Institute for Work & Health

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 operateHow 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.

About presenter

Dr. Peter Smith is scientific co-director and a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto. He has extensive experience conducting research related to work injury and its consequences using large population-based surveys and administrative workers' compensation data. His key research interests include: gender and sex differences in the relationship between work and the risk of chronic disease and work injury; the nature and measurement of occupational health and safety vulnerability; return-to-work experiences for people with mental health conditions; and the long-term outcomes of injured workers.

About IWH Speaker Series

The IWH Speaker Series brings you the latest findings from work and health researchers from the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and beyond. For those unable to attend, the recorded webinar of most presentations in the IWH Speaker Series are made available on its web page within a week of the event.