In the months ahead, Canadian employers and the political right will increasingly demand rollbacks, a fiscal reckoning for the emergency measures put in place, and a return to austerity. Preceding this struggle, however, is the current battle over workplace health and safety, workloads, staffing levels and the pace and intensity of work.
Inequality and class disparity have been on full display in the devastating coronavirus outbreak. On the one hand, Canada’s dependence on the work of undervalued and underpaid health care workers, cleaners and retail employees has been clearer than ever. On the other, these workers are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis. In March, one-third of workers earning $14 an hour or less became jobless or lost most of their hours of work.