COVID-19 and precarious employment (COPE)

In Progress


Work and Health

Temporary and less secure types of employment are becoming more and more common in Canada, replacing permanent, full-time jobs. At a time when job protections and access to workplace benefits have never been more crucial for protecting workers’ health, this trend is very concerning.

Inequities between precarious workers and standard workers have widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Canadian government moved quickly with policy measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, many precarious workers’ needs continued to be overlooked.

How have governments and workplaces responded to support precarious workers during the pandemic?

COPE is a longitudinal mixed-methods research study to understand the impact of the multiple waves of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of Ontario’s precarious workers, and to understand how policies have shaped those impacts.

Our study asks the questions:

  • How have the COVID-19 economic and health crisis affected employment conditions, health and well-being, and access to resources and health care for workers with the highest precarious employment conditions and their families/households?
  • How have employment-related government and workplace policy responses supported or neglected workers with the highest precarious employment conditions?

This work builds on a recently initiated cross-sectional mixed-methods study in Ontario on precarious employment and COVID-19, part of the multi-country Precarious Work Research (PWR, read “power”) study. COPE transforms PWR into a longitudinal study to cover the first three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Work and Health

Dr. Patricia O’Campo

One of the first scientists to shine a light on the social determinants of health, Dr. Pat O’Campo is internationally renowned for her scholarship and methods development. She is the Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Population Health Intervention Research.


  • Dr. Carles Muntaner (University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Wayne Lewchuk (McMaster University)


  • Pearl Buhariwala
  • Melissa Perri
  • Maha Hassan
  • Tasneem Poonawala
  • Joanna Rios
  • Vanesa Berenstein
  • Elham Rasoulian


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Operating Grant: COVID-19 Research Gaps and Priorities

Contact Info

Pearl Buhariwala