They made doors, gum and jerry cans. Ontario’s ‘essential’ workers in manufacturing accounted for more workplace COVID deaths than any other sector — even health care workers.
By the time Ontario’s government’s numbers are in, as of late April, hundreds of thousands of Ontario workers have lost their jobs, including a significant number in the manufacturing sector. The official toll has reached over 1,500, with 3,000 hospitalizations.
While that figure has been a shock to many, the situation is actually more dire than the numbers suggest. Even more unsettling, the COVID-19 epidemic isn’t going away any time soon.
Owing to the ‘flattening’ of the curve, the number of people with severe illnesses is at a historic low. Some health experts even believe the worst is over — not for some people, but definitely not for all.
“There’s every indication at this point that the curve is going to start to flatten,” said Dr. David Williams, executive vice president of the Canadian Medical Association. “If that happens, we don’t think we’ll see as steep a drop-off as we’ve seen in many other parts of the world.”
The situation in Ontario doesn’t look good
There was never any question about it: The coronavirus pandemic is an economic one, with most of the economic consequences being felt first and foremost by the most-vulnerable groups in our society — people with a job, or who otherwise can draw incomes from an employer.
The Ontario economy lost roughly 700,000 jobs between April 1 and 10, and more than a million jobs over the past two months. There are now over a million people facing food insecurity. And while the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector increased, employment in Ontario’s other major sectors have fallen by even more.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that, right now, Ontario has more people on unemployment than it has workers in some of our major industries,” Williams said, pointing to an even more dire reality. “We’re running