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Better coverage, protections needed if workers get COVID-19: survey

Last Updated Jun 15, 2020 at 5:55 pm PDT

FILE - Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A new survey shows most British Columbians want more protection, coverage when it comes to COVID-19

The survey comes as WorkSafe BC is looking at adding COVID-19 to its list of occupational diseases

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A new survey shows four out of five people in B.C. think there should be stronger health and safety protections, along with Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) coverage for workers who contract COVID-19.

Polling firm Strategic Communications Inc. (Stratcom) conducted the survey for the B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFED), and it comes as WorkSafe BC looks at adding COVID-19 to its list of occupational diseases.

“There’s a new awareness of the critical importance of workplace health and safety coming out of this pandemic,” said BCFED President Laird Cronk.

Right now COVID-19 is considered a workplace illness by WorkSafe BC, and workers can receive compensation through presumptive coverage.

“We have to do right by these workers,” Cronk added. “Right now, the onus is on sick workers to prove workplace exposure while they are battling the symptoms of COVID-19, even if they work in essential economic sectors, which can be difficult at best.”

The survey also found 76.4 per cent people favoured better compensation for workers who are injured or get sick on the job.

Results are based on the answers of 2,003 British Columbians between May 14 and 25.