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Many Canadians back at work say they feel safe, despite COVID-19

Last Updated Apr 9, 2021 at 11:18 am PDT

FILE - A sign at a Vancouver business tells customers that face masks are required. (Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Four out of five Canadians surveyed who are going into work say they feel safe at their place of employment

Some people who work from home say they have concerns about returning to the office, workplace

Canadian Chamber of Commerce wants to see rapid testing made more widely available at workplaces

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – About half of employees surveyed across the country are still going to their workplaces every day, and for the most part, they feel safe.

That’s according to a new poll from Abacus Data done for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which looked into how people feel about how and where they work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Four out of five actually said that they were feeling safe in the workplace, and I think that is an affirmation of a lot of the work that businesses have been doing to get their workplaces into a spot that employees can come in and both them and their customers will be safe and at a lower risk of transmission,” explained Mark Agnew with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Work survey abacus data canadian chamber of commerce

While many people who are already going into work say they’re pretty comfortable, the same is not true for a number of others who are currently doing their jobs from home.

The survey finds only half of those working from home most or part of the time feel safe about the prospect of returning to the office full-time.

“And I think that’s a function of the fact they haven’t had a chance to, I think, see what is on offer from employers to make the workplace safe,” Agnew said.

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When it comes to key concerns for returning to a workplace full-time, survey respondents flagged exposure to customers and using public transit for the work commute as some of the reasons for their unease.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says its members support vaccination, PPE programs, and rapid screening at workplaces across the country to help lower the risk of spread of COVID-19.

“A greater ease of companies being able to implement rapid-screening programs in various jurisdictions,” he said. “Right now, in Ontario, you’re able to actually allow self-administration of rapid-screening tests whereas [in] other provinces it is required to be done by a health professional. And that’s a big barrier for companies that want to implement that because that significantly increases the costs, which are particularly prohibitive for small and medium sized enterprises.”

The poll suggests nearly half of Canadians don’t believe their workplace will return to normal until 2022.

These poll results comes after staffing firm Robert Half said earlier this week that its survey has found a third of professionals who are currently working from home would look for a new job if they were told they had to go back to the office.