School of Labour Studies

A close-up on the Covid-19 virus.

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Ontario Workers, Workplaces and Families

Two students working independently on labour studies wearing Covid-19 masks at McMaster campus.

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Ontario Workers, Workplaces and Families

A research project by Dr. Mohammad Ferdosi, Dr. Peter Graefe, Dr. Wayne Lewchuk and Dr. Stephanie Ross, who are the co-investigators in the COVID Economic and Social Effects Study (CESES) at McMaster University.

This study seeks to answer five research questions:

  1. In what ways has work been changing during COVID-19 and how effective have these changes been at protecting workers?
  2. How do COVID-19 policies intersect with people’s experiences of precarious employment and poverty?
  3. How have the impacts of COVID-19 on work intersected with various forms of social inequality?
  4. How have unions and employers responded to mass unemployment, work redesign, and work intensification, and are power relations in workplaces changing as a result?
  5. How has work become a site of COVID transmission and poor health?

Between August and December 2020, we asked Ontarians over the age of 18 and who were not retired a series of questions.

We asked specifically about their income security, employment, workplace experiences, housing and food security, and views of the kinds of government policies needed during and after the pandemic.


The following factsheets summarize what they told us:


Factsheet 1: Labour Market Employment and COVID

Factsheet 2: Workplace Dynamics and COVID

Factsheet 3: Union Advocacy and COVID

Factsheet 4: Financial Well-Being and COVID

Factsheet 5: Food Security and Housing

Factsheet 6: Health and COVID

Factsheet 7: Attitudes Towards Government Policy and COVID Methods and Demographics


Report: Not Back to Normal: Social Assistance in Post-Pandemic Ontario


CESES is a collaboration between the School of Labour Studies, the Department of Political Science, and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, and is supported by funding from MITACS and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.