One year after the pandemic was officially declared, newly-released data by Statistics Canada breaks down the impact that COVID-19 has had on Canadians.
The report released Thursday analyzes Canadians’ response to COVID-19, the indirect health impacts that the pandemic has caused, and the social and economic inequalities faced by Canadians over the past year.
“The magnitude of many of the changes that we saw, both in terms of the social data and the economic data, certainly stand out,” said Guy Gellatly, economical analyst from Statistics Canada, in an interview with CTVNews.ca. “A key aspect of all of this is just the enormous amount of change that we’ve seen in a relatively short period of time.”
In the report, the agency marked key events that occurred each month in relation to the pandemic.
HOW THE PANDEMIC HAS AFFECTED THE WORKPLACE
In January 2021, more than 40 per cent of Canadians reported concerns of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. Individuals in occupations that had limited opportunities to work from home expressed the most concern.
AREAS WITH HIGHER POPULATIONS OF VISIBLE MINORITIES REPORTED HIGHER MORTALITY RATES
According to StatCan, areas with 25 per cent or more visible minorities had a mortality rate that was two times higher than areas with less than one per cent of visible minorities. When comparing the highest-proportion areas to the lowest-proportion areas in Quebec and Ontario, the mortality rate was three times higher.
AREAS WITH GREATER CONCENTRATIONS OF BLACK CANADIANS HAD HIGHER MORTALITY RATES
When looking at data between March 2020 and July 2020, Montreal and Toronto had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths. In Montreal, the mortality ratio was approximately 149 per 100,000 people in areas where there were more Black Canadians, in comparison to areas with lower proportions of Black Canadians having an 88 per 100,000 mortality rate.
INDIGENOUS GROUPS HAVE BEEN AT A HIGHER RISK OF CONTRACTING COVID-19
In the summer, nearly 60 per cent of Indigenous people with underlying health conditions reported that their overall health was worse than prior to the pandemic. Sixty-four per cent also reported that their mental health had also declined.
When it comes to meeting essential needs, over half of the survey participants said the pandemic affected their ability to acquire groceries and personal protective equipment.
VISIBLE MINORITIES SEE HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT RATES
During the pandemic, there have been higher levels of unemployment among visible minorities, as well as increased financial strains.
NEARLY 14,000 EXCESS DEATHS RECORDED IN 2020
StatCan reported 13,798 excess deaths last year, which is five per cent more deaths than expected in the time period.
While Canadians aged 65 and older were impacted the most, mortality rates in Canadians under the age of 65 were higher than expected in the fall. The agency noted that some of these deaths could be an indirect impact of the pandemic, such as the increase in mortality rates due to overdoses since the start of the pandemic.
CANADIANS’ CONTINUED HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
In the first months of the pandemic, StatCan reported that 90 per cent of Canadians followed health and safety precautions such as washing hands more frequently, wearing masks, and physical distancing. By September 2020, the numbers increased to 95 per cent of Canadians following these precautions.