Most Canadian workers feel safe during COVID-19

Working Canadians believe their employers are taking proper measures to protect them during the pandemic

In the first survey of its Workplace Insights series on COVID-19, ADP Canada found that most working Canadians feel safe at work during COVID-19. The survey, conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of ADP Canada, explores the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian workplace. The results show that, in line with public health directives and occupational health and safety obligations, employers have adopted various measures to protect their workforces, including implementing work-from-home arrangements and physical distancing practices as well as increasing protective equipment/barriers and heightening sanitization and cleaning of workspaces. In all Canadian jurisdictions, employers have a general duty to take all reasonable precautions to protect their workers’ health and safety.

Despite additional safety measures, a significant portion of front-line workers feel pressured to go into work during the pandemic, especially millennial workers. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable workers (those aged 55+) feel safer at work and less pressure to go into work than younger generations. Men are also more likely to feel safe in the workplace and are more likely to be going into work regularly, compared to women.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Nearly nine in 10 working Canadians feel safe in their workplace (86%)
    • 75 per cent of front-line workers and 97 per cent of those working remotely feel safe at work
    • 79 per cent of men compared to 70 per cent of women feel safe at work
    • 82 per cent of workers aged 55+ feel safe at work, compared to workers aged 35 to 54 (70%) and 18 to 34 (75%)
  • Among working Canadians, 80 per cent believe their workplace has taken all necessary precautions to protect them from COVID-19
    • 90 per cent of those working remotely and 72 per cent of front-line workers agree their workplace has taken necessary precautions to protect them
    • Some of the measures that employees are aware their employers are taking to protect them are:
      • Allowing employees to work from home (61%)
      • Encouraging social distancing (58%)
      • Increasing sanitization and cleaning of workspaces (56%)
    • 72 per cent of front-line workers say their employer has increased sanitization and cleaning of their workplace
  • 42 per cent of front-line workers feel pressured to go into work during the pandemic
    • 37 per cent of workers aged 18 to 34 are more likely to feel pressured to go into work than older generations (26% of workers aged 35 to 54 and 24% of workers aged 55+)

Regional findings:

  • Québec workers (remote and front-line) feel the most pressure to go into work during COVID-19 (44% compared to the national average of 29%). In addition, front-line workers in Québec feel less safe going into work (63% compared to the national average of 75%)
  • Workers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are least likely to work remotely (19% compared to national average of 26%)
  • Workers in British Columbia are most likely to feel they are not being pressured to go into work (77% vs. 66% national average) while workers believe employers in the province are most likely to reduce business hours (40% vs. 31% national average)

About ADP Canada’s Workplace Insight series on COVID-19
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a global pandemic affecting many aspects of life, including employment and the Canadian and global economies.

ADP Canada has engaged Angus Reid to conduct bi-weekly surveys in order to deliver timely, relevant insights on how workplaces have been impacted by the pandemic, as well as their level of preparedness and how they’ve responded to this international pandemic.

This online survey of 787 working Canadians was completed between April 3 and 5, 2020, using Angus Reid’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-3.49%.

This survey is done in addition to Angus Reid’s own research on the COVID-19 crisis, a weekly tracker that informs Canadians on changes in attitude and behaviour each week. This includes a representative sample of n=1,004 Canadian Adults (age 18+ yrs.) who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

Find FAQs, checklists, webcasts, and the resources to help you protect and manage your workforce here: ADP Employer Preparedness Toolkit — Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

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