It is somewhat comforting to know that while a pandemic rages across the world, there’s still a sense of normalcy to be found in how Canada treats its working class. If you had listened to the politicians a few weeks ago when they took to the pulpit and chastised Ontario taxpayers for being careless with social gatherings, mask-wearing, and all of those prescribed pandemic measures, you probably shook your head and wondered if the public could be trusted with anything.
But, it turns out that a certain class of business and people are the ones who have lit the tinder of another runaway COVID outbreak in Ontario. While the rest of us were forced to tighten our belts and watch our small business fold and our favorite restaurants shutter their windows, there are still companies and institutions that have flouted any social responsibility by denying workers sick pay – a grenade that was ignored until it blew up in our faces and resulted in the most recent lockdown.
You have 53 percent of Canadians $200 away from insolvency, working jobs that don’t give them sick pay. And to top that off, they’re often working in close proximity with each other. These workers then are expected to take the moral high ground (when the company they work for and the province refuses to do so) and stay home from work when they get sick, but if they do, they may no longer be able to pay their bills, buy food, or pay off debts.
The bulk of cases now that seem to be driving this pandemic are happening in workplaces where essential workers are unable to fully physically distance from one another,” said Dr. Camille Lemieux, medical lead for the University Health Network’s COVID-19 assessment centre.
I’m wondering when the media personalities and Twitter slacktivists will show up and call these companies out as they have proudly been doing to those who haven’t been marching in step with the rest of us with mask-wearing and vaccinations. What these companies have been doing is arguably much worse, so I’m expecting the public flagellation to be just as bad. Hopefully, any day now.
Had anyone else done the same thing, no doubt they’d easily and proudly pillory them on social media and in news publications. And where were the authorities who had been fining people for having social gatherings? Or for doing a ghastly thing like opening their restaurants or small businesses to the public? One can’t have more than a few people over for dinner, but desperate workers forced to operate in close proximity to each other without paid sick leave during a pandemic is acceptable? Had our public personalities gone after these organizations with the tenacity they show those peculiar anti-maskers, maybe we wouldn’t be in this position. But that would require actual courage and a robust moral backbone, something our media and institutions seem to increasingly lack.
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