In just a few months, COVID-19 has put a serious strain on the health care systems and economies of many countries.
Alongside the direct health risk of contracting the coronavirus, workers face the possibility — the likelihood in many sectors — of reduced hours or even layoffs, as their companies seek to contain financial losses resulting from the global pandemic. Furthermore, workers can be quarantined for various reasons including a positive test for COVID-19, self-isolation following travel, or employer requests for workers to stay home even if they have no symptoms.
To stay ahead of these and other likely effects of the coronavirus, Canada’s income support systems need to be made more resilient and responsive to the needs of workers who are either quarantined or whose industries are heavily impacted. This paper examines how well protected Canadian workers are now and what else should be done to better insulate them from these risks.