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. Now, we’re seeing some Ontario workers who have been deemed essential at one point or another losing their jobs due to automation or automation-free jobs being taken over by non-essential workers.
While Ontario has been able to implement social distancing and masking in response to the coronavirus, many Ontario workers are finding the virus may require some adjustment.
Here’s the breakdown of how some Ontario workers are finding their employers have changed their hiring practices, and how they’re trying to find new work.
Employers are hiring more non-essential people
The latest report from the Canadian Automotive Dealers Association found that Ontario is now the second largest auto-manufacturing location in the country, after the United States. This makes sense, since Ontario has the largest industrial sector in Canada, with 9.8 per cent of the total industrial workforce, according to Statistics Canada.
But as the Automotive Dealers Association found, that’s not really what’s happening:
“We are seeing that more and more employers appear to be relying on non-essential workers. This is a concerning trend.”
Automotive dealers don’t make the kind of cars that Ontario’s essential workers do, like cars like the Hyundai Santa Fe, which hit the road last October. Auto dealerships are generally seen as non-essential, but the coronavirus pandemic and the need to protect the population have made some of the dealerships essential if they are necessary during the pandemic.
According to the Automotive Dealers Association, two-thirds of automotive stores are operating outside of the essential business category. In fact, the number of auto dealerships operating outside of the essential business category shot up to nearly half a million in April from just more than 700,000 in April 2019.