They made doors, gum and jerry cans. Ontario’s ‘essential’ workers in manufacturing accounted for more workplace COVID deaths than any other sector — even health care workers.
The vast majority of Ontario’s COVID-19 deaths — 11,429 — are recorded in the mining, construction, electric utility and manufacturing industries, according to Statistics Canada (SCAnalysis of COVID-19 Deaths) at the University of Waterloo.
It’s a huge gap, as Statistics Canada has only recorded 9,073 COVID-19 deaths in the entire province of Ontario as of Oct. 6, and a record high COVID-19 death toll of 19,068 on the first day of the pandemic, or 17 per cent of Ontario’s total COVID-19 deaths.
The manufacturing sector alone accounts for 7,800 of Ontario’s deaths, making it the second most important sector behind health care. That’s when we’re not counting mining deaths and the “essential” workers in electric utilities as well as those in the other essential sectors.
“It’s almost a mirror image of the health care workforce crisis,” according to University of Ontario professor and associate professor of public health at the University of Waterloo, Steven D’Souza, who’s been tracking COVID-19 deaths in Ontario.
“One out of five of the COVID-19 deaths occur in the sector.”
One out of five die in the sector, while the health care sector accounted for just over half of the deaths in Ontario in the first week of the pandemic. On Friday, Ontario reported its highest daily death toll with 2,734 deaths.
Ontario’s manufacturing sector, with about 6.2 million workers, has been the most effected by the pandemic, accounting for 38 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Ontario, and over a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada. Ontario’s electric utilities, with 3.6 million workers, and mining, with 4.2 million workers, are also responsible for a quarter of the province’s COVID-19 deaths.