Government failings are putting healthcare workers at risk during the current pandemic, argues UWindsor doctoral student Jane McArthur in the chapter of a new e-book about COVID-19.
McArthur, a doctoral candidate in sociology, has co-authored a chapter with her parents, Margaret Keith and Jim Brophy, environmental and occupational health advocates and both adjunct professors at the University of Windsor.
In their chapter for the book, Sick of the System, they argue the province displayed many shortcomings, including dragging its feet on addressing the pandemic and not having enough personal protective equipment available for healthcare workers ignoring the recommendations of the royal commission following the 2003 SARS outbreak.
“If we look through the lens of worker protection, the COVID-19 pandemic is neither novel nor unforeseen,” write McArthur and her co-authors.
“In many ways, it is an escalation of the ongoing failure of health and safety regulatory oversight. It also underscores the chronic underfunding and increasing privatization of the health-care sector. These problems are aptly illustrated in Ontario, where bed shortages, wait times, and understaffing plague the system.”
McArthur says the Ontario government, like others across the globe, failed to implement protections and policies in a timely fashion, especially where healthcare workers are involved.
“If they had been systematically abiding by the precautionary principle, governments would more likely have foreseen the vulnerabilities in our systems. They could have taken definitive measures to mitigate risks.”