Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Why the 'Invisible Workers' Cleaning up Covid-19 Need Better Labour Protection

Date 2020-04-04T00:02:27.361Z


The message has been loud and clear: everyone needs to do their part to fight the spread of COVID-19, and that means not leaving our homes unless absolutely necessary. But for tens of thousands of people who work as cleaners across this country, this pandemic has meant having to keep showing up for work — for more demanding shifts, and under potentially hazardous working conditions. You can't telecommute if you're a cleaner or janitor. In Canada, as elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how essential their work is for public health and safety. And yet, janitorial workers in Canada have for years been among the lowest-paid in the country, and classified as so-called 'low-skilled' labour. Essential, but not commanding a lot of respect. Deena Ladd is the executive director of the Workers' Action Centre, an organization in Toronto that works with people in low-wage and unstable employment. She spoke to The Sunday Edition's Michael Enright about the working conditions of cleaners in Canada. --Website description