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.
It’s not clear why Ontario’s essential workers have died as many as they have.
They may be overworked or have underlying health conditions. They may simply have contracted COVID-19 late in the trajectory of the pandemic.
The death toll from the deadly virus among Ontario’s essential workers in manufacturing has surpassed those of health care workers, but it’s not even close to what has occurred in other provinces, according to data from the provincial labour ministry.
Workers in all other sectors have been far more deadly, with data from the Public Health Agency of Canada and other provincial authorities. They include front-line health care workers, university workers, and other essential service professionals.
The latest data from the ministry was published this week in a letter to Dr. David Williams, the executive-director of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, after he questioned why essential workers had died from COVID-19 “at higher rates” than health care workers.
The number of workers who died from COVID-19, including health care workers, is about 1,400, including about 350 in Ontario, according to the ministry.
“The death of an essential worker in Ontario has exceeded that of a health care worker,” said Premier Doug Ford, who has frequently said the deaths of essential workers outnumber the deaths of health care workers. “That speaks to the importance of Ontario’s workers.”
Dr. Theresa Tam, the minister of health of Ontario, wrote in the letter to Dr. Williams that she’s “concerned” that many of the deaths among essential workers were caused by “underlying health conditions.”
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