Advocacy group urging Province to include equity-seeking communities in economic recovery plan

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The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is urging the Province to include equity-seeking communities in its economic recovery program.

The advocacy group is calling on the Ford government to commit to collaborating with labour to ensure the inclusion of equity-seeking groups.

Additionally, the OFL, along with the Ontario NDP, labour unions, and community organizations, is requesting the Government to fund, collect and publish provincial data on the impacts of COVID-19 on equity-seeking Ontarians.

According to the aforementioned groups, the data should include information on how women, Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, individuals with disabilities, 2SLGBTQI+ people, and immigrants and migrants are disproportionately affected by the global pandemic.

COVID-19 does not affect everyone equally. Equity-seeking groups continue to be disproportionately affected by the economic, social, and physical harms of COVID-19, including increased risk of exposure and decreased access to health care,” Patty Coates, OFL president, said in a news release.

Understanding the social determinants of health by analyzing equity-based COVID-19 data is critical to help us understand how best to stop the spread in these communities, and to inform Ontario’s economic recovery plans,” she continued.

According to the release, the OFL believes “social determinants of health make equity-seeking groups more vulnerable to COVID-19.”

The release further posits that income, race, and employment conditions impact the immune system.

Moreover, the OFL is working with communities to inform the Province of how best to collect and distribute race and socio-demographic data, as well as its significance regarding understanding the effects of COVID-19 on communities across Ontario.

While some Ontarians are staying home, many of the workers that are keeping the province running receive the lowest pay, the fewest benefits and face a greater risk of infection. Women workers, racialized workers, migrant and immigrant workers, and workers with disabilities are overrepresented in the precarious jobs that are on the front line of the pandemic,” Coates said.

These labour market inequities lead to social and economic inequality, including higher poverty rates, greater health risks, and lower quality housing for these workers,” she added.

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