When proximity is a problem: what reopening means for schools and child care centres

Until a vaccine for COVID-19 is created, even a gradual re-emergence from the first and, potentially, second or third waves of self-isolation complicates everything.  How do we re-integrate students into schools when physical distancing will still be in order?  Will students who are immunocompromised or living with a family member…
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Between a rock and a hard place: Which workers are most vulnerable when their workplaces re-open amid COVID-19?

Key facts: Oil sands and meat packing workers have seen terrifying COVID-19 outbreaks as they’ve stayed open in the first phase of the pandemic.  Child care workers, construction labourers, servers, cashiers, and bus drivers have almost identical high risk scores as industrial butchers but, so far, they have been protected…
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An impossible choice: at least 540,000 low wage workers risk losing CERB if they refuse unsafe work

With provincial economies starting to reopen, we need to take a close look at the workers most at risk.  Reopening is sometimes framed as if allowing businesses to switch on the “open” sign will immediately return everything to normal. But there are many more important considerations: workers and consumers need…
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Canada’s modest drop in air pollution highlights magnitude of decarbonization challenge

One of the apparent silver linings of the COVID-19 lockdown has been a significant drop in air pollution in cities around the world. Although the effect has been most pronounced in notoriously polluted places like New Delhi, Beijing and Los Angeles, we’ve seen improvements in Canada as well. As I…
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Ontario’s frontline workers deserve much more than applause

Workers on the front lines of our economy stock our grocery shelves, pack boxes in warehouses, and deliver our food. As COVID-19 rages on, they are facing dangerous working conditions with inadequate personal protective equipment, low wages, and a high stress load. Frontline workers did not sign up to be…
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Caregiving Beyond the Crisis

I am a child care advocate. And in this COVID-19 pandemic, I am torn. On the one hand, this public health emergency demonstrates what advocates have been saying for a long time – that child care is a vital public service and the lack of it was a crisis for…
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You can’t re-open an economy without workers

Yesterday, the Saskatchewan government revealed its plan to “re-open the Saskatchewan economy.” I will leave critiques about whether the plan adequately addresses testing and the public health needs of the province to those more qualified to make them. Suffice it to say I, like many others, was relieved just to…
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