Rights & Money

The Pandemic Hits Some Workers Harder Than Others

Only 4 in 10 Canadians can work from home, according to Statistics Canada

By Erika Morris


Statistics Canada has released a report showing that only four in 10 Canadians can viably work from home.

“While working from home is a temporary response to the pandemic for many people, for others this transition might serve as the catalyst for a new way of doing business for years to come,” the report says.

The figures are based on the “telework capacity” of different industries to determine the feasability of working remotely within a given industry. For example, people working in finance, insurance, and educational are most able to work from home, along with professional, scientific, and technical services. Food services and farming have virtually no telework capacity.

People aged 35 to 44 have the highest telework capacity at 44.2%, while that of those above 65 is 39.6%.

Location also plays a part. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador have the lowest telework capacities due to significant numbers of workers in mining and oil and gas extraction. Ontario however had the highest rate of telework capacity.

Gender and economic stability also play a part in these findings as women are more likely to be able to work from home than men and financially vulnerable workers have the lowest telework capacity of all. This includes people under the age of 25 and have a high school diploma.

“Since these characteristics are often associated with minimum-wage and low-income workers, the pandemic might be reducing workhours to a greater extent among them than among other workers,” the report says.

The report concludes with the question of how much of an increase in telework will have “far-reaching social and economic implications, including reduced traffic congestion and air pollution and perhaps, increases in online learning in colleges and universities.”

Photo: iStock/shironosov.