Data finds two-thirds of GTA workers considered essential

By Michael Ranger, News Staff

Under Ontario’s stay-at-home order only people in jobs considered ‘essential’ are allowed to physically go in to work.

However, the designation of ‘essential worker’ may apply to more GTA residents than one would expect.

Data analysis from the Toronto Star finds 65 per cent of workers in the GTA are doing what is considered ‘essential work.’ This amounts to over 2 million people.

‘Essential workers’ are more likely to be lower wage and immigrants to Canada and are working in production plants and factories in close quarters with little or no paid-sick leave.

Manufacturing, food processing and warehousing make up more than half of all workplace outbreaks in Peel and Toronto.

A meat production plant in Toronto is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that the City’s Public Health Unit (PHU) believes is linked to the variant first discovered in the UK.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) says the outbreak occurred at Belmont Meats in North York where there are currently 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases with two of them determined to be of the B.1.1.7 variant.

RELATED: York Region Public Health confirm 39 cases of B.1.1.7 variant including 3 in children

A recent study revealed that workers ignoring COVID-19 guidelines may be the reason Peel Region continues to be a COVID-19 hotspot.

Research conducted by Peel Public Health from August 2020 to January 2021 shows one-in-four employees went to work showing symptoms of the virus, and out of those workers, one per cent went to work after receiving a positive test for COVID-19.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says nearly 8,000 cases were studied, “and we now have the raw data to show that people are choosing to go to work sick.”

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