Perspectives on the Pandemic

COVID-19, Canadians with disabilities, and the need for major reforms

Author: Michael Prince

Published: June, 2020

“Going forward, it is time the federal government be responsible for providing an adequate income security program for Canadians with disabilities, while enabling the provinces to invest in an affordable and safe supply of personal support and care services.”

This article describes the little action the government has taken to help people with disabilities in Canada during COVID-19 and how to address these limitations by examining major reform options.

Read more here: https://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/covid_19_canadians_with_disabilities_and_the_need_for_major_reforms?fbclid=IwAR2cfHteAgwzF9IzqQwEfAhCnHUJ3Q4aDyAyj8EXJYDnyBXbFj30HGhZmig
 

Food Insecurity and Family Finances During the Pandemic

Author: Nadine Badets

Published: June 2020

The pandemic has created many economic repercussions and financial stressors for families in Canada. According to the Vanier Institute of the Family, between February and April about 1.3 million people in Canada were unemployed, with approximately 97% of the newly unemployed on temporary layoff, meaning they expect to go back to their jobs once the pandemic restrictions are relaxed.

Financial insecurities, such as these, can negatively impact access to food for low income families and exacerbate socio-economic inequities. The Vanier Institute of the Family also suggests factors such as health and disability status, level of social support and the limited availability of certain food products, also contribute to food insecurity during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Read more here: https://vanierinstitute.ca/food-insecurity-and-family-finances-during-the-pandemic/
 

‘Normal’ Was Actually Not Great for a Lot of People

Author: Alice Wong

Published: June 15, 2020

“When the pandemic began in this country, it was like, “Don’t worry, it’s only life-threatening for those who are high-risk. It’s just a bad flu for the rest of us.” In this critical time, when scarcity is a reality, you see the hierarchy. Certain groups are valued over others. This is the world that so many disabled and chronically ill people already live in. Our lives are still seen as expendable.” 
- Alice Wong

Check out this article where Alice Wong explains how the pandemic has made visible the many inequalities people with disabilities face daily. This pandemic has brought about many changes regarding accessibility that people with disabilities have been advocating for forever. A post-pandemic world must continue to be accessible in all domains.

Read more here: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a32474779/alice-wong-interview-coronavirus-covid-19-lessons/ 

Giving up Public Transit During the Coronavirus is a Luxury Many Canadians Can’t Afford

Author: Jeff Allen, Matthew Palm, and Steven Farber

Published: May 31, 2020

Canada’s most vulnerable residents are over-represented among travellers continuing to use public transit during the pandemic. Researchers surveyed 3,300 residents who rode transit regularly during Toronto’s first wave of COVID-19 cases. 

Results indicated that privilege and socio-economic status greatly impacted who continued to use public transit services. Residents least likely to ride public transit were wealthier, whiter, more likely to have been born in Canada and less likely to have a disability compared to those who continue to ride. 

Read more here: https://theconversation.com/giving-up-public-transit-during-the-coronavirus-is-a-luxury-many-canadians-cant-afford-138875

Coronavirus: Canada Stigmatizes, Jeopardizes Essential Migrant Workers

Authors: Jenna Hennebry, C. Susana Caxaj, Janet McLaughlin and Stephanie Mayell

Published: June 3, 2020

COVID-19 has exposed just how essential migrant workers are to keep the economy going. Yet, despite their importance, they experience extreme risk for catching and spreading the virus. Many migrant workers are exposed to racism and stigmatization when they go to the stores, many are told not to leave the farm at all or will be dismissed, and many are living in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

These workers have expressed their concerns regarding crowded housing, lack of hand sanitizers and face masks and delays in accessing health care when workers show COVID-19 symptoms but are often ignored. The government must re-image public health to include the health of essential migrant workers.

Read more here: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-canada-stigmatizes-jeopardizes-essential-migrant-workers-138879 

Freedom for Some is Not Freedom for All: COVID-19, Institutions and Disability Rights

Author: Alice Wong

Published: June 2020

Freedom for some is not freedom for all. As the pressure increases to get life back to “normal”, more shops are re-opening, limits on gatherings are increasing and yet thousands of people continue to die in long term care settings and detention centers. To combat these outbreaks, governments need to launch investigations into outbreaks, mandate reporting of infections and deaths, have universal testing for all workers and residents, and provide adequate personal protective equipment.

This article explains how the system surrounding long term care work needs to change, suggesting that we must “dismantle the nursing home industry that places profits over lives as they endanger their workers and operates with inadequate oversight and regulation”. 

Read more here: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2020/06/07/freedom-for-some-is-not-freedom-for-all/
 

Examining the impacts of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ2+ community

Published: May 29, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread, its impact has been hard hitting especially for vulnerable populations. The inequities in society have been further magnified and it is evident that the LGBTQ2+ community is faced with increased difficulties and barriers.  

This article discusses the ways in which the LGBTQ2+ community has been impacted by COVID-19, such as increased health care barriers, exposure to violence and loss of economic security, as well as discussing some measures to minimize COVID-19 impacts on the LGBTQ2+ community.

Read more here: http://psacunion.ca/examining-impacts-covid-19-lgbtq2-community 

You Say You Want a Revolution? Against Ageism? Now’s the Time

Author: Jeannie Ralston

Published: May 21, 2020

The displays of unabashed ageism over the past few months have been truly horrific. People have been referring to the virus as the Boomer Remover online. Ashton Applewhite believes that there are reasons to be optimistic about COVID-19. She said, “COVID isn’t making ageism worse; it is exposing ageism, ableism, racism, but especially ageism, in society, because people are more aware of it than ever before.”

The way to challenge ageism, according to Applewhite, is to change your own attitude towards age and ageism. Once you are aware of your own biases you start to see it in the world, providing the opportunity to change it.

Read more here: https://nexttribe.com/ageism-examples/?utm_source=NextTribe+Combined

Why COVID-19 Is Even More Dangerous For Black Women

Author: Eternity Martis

Published: May 19, 2020

The “COVID-19 has made such scrutiny so much worse: The increase in surveillance, security measures, and law enforcement — ostensibly to protect the population from the spread of the virus — has resulted in the over policing of Black people.”

“I’d like to wear a mask to protect myself like everyone else instead of worrying about looking suspicious, or take a walk to clear my head around the block without fear of seeming out of place”

This article talks about the experience of Black women and girls during the pandemic. When it comes to racial profiling, these individuals have one of the biggest targets on their back now and prior to the pandemic. How we respond to racial profiling today can create a better precedent for how vulnerable people get treated and viewed in a post-COVID-19 world.

Read more here: https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/2020/05/9717180/overpolicing-black-women-canada-coronavirus

Families New to Canada and Financial Well-being During Pandemic

Author: Laetitia Martin

Published: May 21, 2020

During the pandemic, families of all economic status may experience financial losses. Yet, families in poverty are expected to experience greater hardships. According to the Vanier Institute of the Family, the Association for Canadian Studies and Leger, regardless of their immigration status (Canadian-born or not), around 4 to 5 out of 10 respondents stated that they had experienced a decrease in their income because of the pandemic. Immigrants were represented to a higher degree, however, among those for whom this decrease in income caused difficulty in meeting their short-term financial obligations. Nearly 3 out of 10 immigrant families have experienced difficulty meeting their immediate financial obligations during the pandemic.

Read more here: https://vanierinstitute.ca/poverty-and-economic-vulnerability-of-immigrant-families-in-times-of-a-pandemic/

Family Finances and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Ana Fostik and Jennifer Kaddatz

Published: May 26, 2020

Data from an April 10-12 survey reports that 38% of men and 34% of women aged 18 and older said that they lost their job temporarily or permanently or experienced pay or income losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Vanier Institute of the Family, the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and Leger.

Adults in Financial difficulty are more likely to report mental health issues. Statistics Canada recently found that adults who suffered a major or moderate impact of the pandemic were much more likely to report fair or poor mental health than those who were less impacted.

Read more here: https://vanierinstitute.ca/family-finances-and-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Intersectionality Offers a Radical Rethinking of COVID-19

Author: Olena Hankivsky and Anuj Kapilashrami

Published: May 15, 2020

COVID-19 has greatly disrupted modern life on a global level. However, the virus does not impact everyone equally, prompting calls to account for the needs, vulnerabilities, and violations experienced by women, migrants, people with disabilities, and elderly people. 

This article describes how intersectionality (the relation between factors such as age, ethnicity, sex, gender, health status, etc) has been ignored when looking at the data relating to COVID-19. Bringing attention to the intersection between these factors can ensure a more equitable and effective response to COVID-19. This requires inclusive research and coalition building across governments, organizations, as well as asking tough questions about power.

Read more here: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/05/15/intersectionality-offers-a-radical-rethinking-of-covid-19/

The Invisible Coronavirus Makes Systemic Gender Inequalities and Injustices Visible

Author: Liane Schalatek 

Published: April 30, 2020

The coronavirus has made visible injustices and inequalities that exist in the economic, environmental and social sectors of life. The COVID-19 pandemic is not the root cause of these inequalities, but a reinforcer of the discriminatory and unjust ways of thinking that have been built into our systems and communities, including oppressing, utilizing and victimizing women and girls in many areas of daily life. 

Through this pandemic, it became evident that the dominant economic system has utilized existing gender stereotypes and minimized women’s and girls’ contributions to sustaining societies, such as by making care work largely invisible, underappreciated, underpaid and undervalued. Therefore, the fight against the coronavirus must be comprehensive and systemic to attack the discrimination and inequality that is ingrained in so many aspects of life.

This report contains many sections that describe the effect of COVID-19 on women and how they are to overcome it.

II. Feminist Focus on and Women’s Leadership for a Post-Pandemic Systems Change
III. Gender-Differentiated Economic Impacts from COVID-19 in Both Crisis and Recovery
IV. Putting a Spotlight on Care Work
V. Gendered Health Implications
VI. Gendered Safety and Security Implications
VII. Outlook – Overcoming the Pandemic and Building Resilience Against Future Emergencies by Investing in Human Rights, Gender Equality and Expanding Human Security

Read it here: https://us.boell.org/en/2020/04/30/invisible-coronavirus-makes-systemic-gender-inequalities-and-injustices-visible?utm_source=website&utm_medium=facebook

Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women; F-Word: Call for Submissions 2020

The new edition of the F-Word from the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women wants to hear about young women's experiences during COVID-19. This platform enables them to share their thoughts and priorities on women’s equality in Canada especially during times of crisis such as now. Young women are encouraged to share their analysis, art or photography with the CRIAW to express what they are thinking, saying, feeling and creating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications will be accepted from May 4, 2020 to June 1, 2020

More information: https://www.criaw-icref.ca/en/page/call-for-submissions-2020

COVID-19 at the Intersection of Gender and Disability: Findings of a Global Human Rights Survey

Author: Women Enabled International

Published: May 2020

The Women Enabled International (WEI) identified a gap in initial global responses to COVID-19 regarding women, girls, non-binary and trans persons with disabilities. The WEI created a WEI COVID-19 Survey to better understand the experiences of these individuals during this pandemic.

The survey identified topics regarding their concerns surrounding healthcare, violence, support services, income, and education. Survey respondents reported that their mental and physical health were being negatively impacted by the crisis and feared they would not be able to access the help or meet their basic needs. This report summarizes the Survey, giving insight to the experiences of many women, girls, non-binary and trans persons with disabilities during this pandemic. The report also lists key recommendations that governments should follow to be more inclusive during this challenging time.

Read more about it here: https://womenenabled.org/pdfs/Women%20Enabled%20International%20COVID-19%20at%20the%20Intersection%20of%20Gender%20and%20Disability%20May%202020%20Final.pdf 

How to Ensure a Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19

Author: Rebecca Root

Published: May 7, 2020

“The coronavirus response plans are leaving people with disabilities behind, according to advocates who are pushing for immediate corrective action,” said Jimmy Innes, chief executive at Action on Disability and Development International.

People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the impacts of COVID-19 and are disproportionately left out of the response to COVID-19. These individuals are being left behind due to limited government policies set in place to assist them. This article explains measures that organizations and governments can take to ensure people with disabilities are not being left behind when tackling crises such as COVID-19. Some measures include:
1. Inclusion in response plans
2. Make information accessible
3. Ensure access to health services
4. Ensure access to regular services

Read it here: https://www.devex.com/news/how-to-ensure-a-disability-inclusive-response-to-covid-19-97134

Policy Brief: A Disability Inclusive Response

Author: United Nations Sustainble Developement Group

Date: May 2020

This Policy Brief highlights the impact of COVID- 19 on persons with disabilities and in doing so, outlines key actions and recommendations
to make the response and recovery inclusive of persons with disabilities. While the brief contains specific recommendations focusing on key sectors, it identifies four overarching areas of action that are applicable for all.

Read full policy brief: https://unsdg.un.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/Policy-Brief-A-Disability-Inclusive-Response-to-COVID-19.pdf

Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on older persons

Author: United Nations Sustainable Developement Group

Date: May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world. As of 26 April, the virus itself has already taken the lives of some 193,710 people1, and fatality rates for those over 80 years of age is five times the global average.2 As the virus spreads rapidly to developing countries, likely overwhelming health and social protection systems, the mortality rate for older persons could climb even higher.

Less visible but no less worrisome are the broader effects: health care denied for conditions unrelated to COVID-19; neglect and abuse in institutions and care facilities; an increase in poverty and unemployment; the dramatic impact on well-being and mental health; and the trauma of stigma and discrimination.

This policy brief elaborates on these impacts and identifies both immediate and longer-term policy and programmatic responses needed across four key priorities for action.

Full Policy Brief: https://unsdg.un.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/Policy-Brief-The-Impact-of-COVID-19-on-Older-Persons.pdf

 

UoG's Gender Equity Covid-19 in the Time of Covid-19

As the effects of COVID-19 evolve globally, it has become clear that the pandemic holds important implications for gendered inequalities. Gender impacts how COVID-19 is experienced and managed at the individual level, as well as within families, organizations, and communities. These differences both exacerbate and transform gender inequalities in these various realms such that their effects will ripple into the years to come.
 
In response, the GenEQ Initiative has aggregated academic and popular writing that presents gendered analyses of the pandemic. These writings underscore the complex, systemic nature of gendered inequalities within our communities as they play out amid COVID-19.
 

Community Building

Author: Tamarack Institute
Published: Week of April 21, 2020
 
Here are 5 community building stories and ideas sent in by Tamarack Institute members in response to COVID-19
 
1. All Hands on Deck: How Community Engagement is Changing in the midst of COVID-19
2. Enging and Celebrating Canada's Volunteers
3. Community Engagement with the Virtual Peer Input Process
4. EPIC Generosity in Nova Scotia
5. Finding Comfort (and Value) in Fresh Past
 

Canadians with disabilities left with few alternatives amid COVID-19 shutdowns

Author: Tashauna Reid, CBC

Published: April 9, 2020

For the six million people who live with a disability in Canada, measures surrounding COVID-19 have posed unique challenges, from increasing isolation to families not being able to get respite support to broader fears around contracting the disease. While the federal government has been rolling out financial support for Canadians, they haven't addressed the specific challenges encountered by people with disabilities and their families and caregivers.

Read it all here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-19-impact-on-canadians-with-disabilities-1.5525332

National Survey Results: The Impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQI2S Community

Author: Egale
Published: April 6, 2020

Through an in-kind partnership with INNOVATIVE Research Group, Egale presents a timely study that highlights the unique impact that the COVID-19 crisis has on Canada’s LGBTQI2S community.

Report Highlights:

  • The COVID-19 crisis has affected the employment security for a majority (53%) of Canada’s LGBTQI2S households.

  • An estimated half of Canada’s LGBTQI2S household have faced lay-offs or reduced employment hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This compares to 39% of overall Canadian households.

  • Compared to the average Canadian household, the LGBTQI2S community is less confident in their households’ current financial situation as well as their ability to bounce back if they were to lose their job.

Read it all here: https://egale.ca/egale-in-action/covid19-impact-report/

Coronavirus is not the ‘great equalizer’ — race matters

Author: 

Published: April 6, 2020

The fear and mistrust of health systems expressed by many in Black, Indigenous and racialized communities stem from historical eugenic practices of both governments and individual doctors. These communities have experienced systemic racist violence for generations. They have recently experienced xenophobic responses to COVID-19 and historically, other health crises.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-not-the-great-equalizer-race-matters-133867?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

I’m disabled and need a ventilator to live. Am I expendable during this pandemic?

Author: Alice Wong
Published: April 4, 2020
 
Eugenics isn’t a relic from World War II; it’s alive today, embedded in our culture, policies, and practices. It is imperative that experts and decision-makers include and collaborate with communities disproportionately impacted by systemic medical racism, ageism, and ableism, among other biases.
 

College Made Them Feel Equal. The Virus Exposed How Unequal Their Lives Are.

Author: Nicholas Casey

Published: April 4, 2020

“This crisis is exposing that a lot of people don’t have anywhere to go.”, an American student says as her Native country, Russia, closes its borders. Switching courses to an online format exarcebates inequities among students, as responsibilities, settings, and access pose additional barriers to students from historically marginalized groups. 

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/04/us/politics/coronavirus-zoom-college-classes.html?auth=login-google&fbclid=IwAR37icQM-NbwOEpDvVUvCnH4WGWmJ5L2MWLjshe9hZ5eMpe263ZSvlbVm90

Pandemics and Violence against Women and Children

Authors: Amber PetermanAlina Potts , Megan O'Donnell , Kelly Thompson , Niyati Shah , Sabine Oertelt-Prigione and Nicole van Gelder

Published: April 1, 2020

Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Based on existing published and grey literature, the authors identify nine key pathways linking pandemics and VAW/C, through effects of (on):

  1. economic insecurity and poverty-related stress,
  2. quarantines and social isolation,
  3. disaster and conflict-related unrest and instability,
  4. exposure to exploitative relationships due to changing demographics,
  5. reduced health service availability and access to first responders, 
  6. inability of women to temporarily escape abusive partners,
  7. virus-specific sources of violence,
  8. exposure to violence and coercion in response efforts, and
  9. violence perpetrated against health care workers. 

They argue that the issue of violence against women and children must be mitigated in three ways, namely by better understanding the extent of the problem, elucidating mechanisms and linkages with other social and economic factors and informing intervention and response options. 

Read it all: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/pandemics-and-violence-against-women-and-children#.XoSjYcR98Sg.twitter

‘We Have Always Been Disposable’: the Structural Violence of Neoliberal Healthcare

Author: Megan Linton

Published: March 31, 2020

The marriage of neoliberalism and the medical industrial complex has had disastrous results in Canada, even without the presence of a pandemic. This toxic relationship has led to decades of healthcare cuts, privatization of services, and warehousing of disabled and elder populations. Now, COVID-19 is exacerbating an already broken system.

Read it here: https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/we-have-always-been-disposable-the-structural-violence-of-neoliberal-healthcare

Reactions To #COVID19 Threaten Gains In Diversity, Inclusion And Belonging

Author: Dr. Malinda S. Smith

Published: March 31, 2020

This thread explores numerous issues related to the importance of diversity and inclusion in higher education, as well as challenges of growing these areas. 

Some of the issues include 

  • Why we need diversity in leadership in this time of crisis
  • Teaching Remotely: Challenges to Diversity and Inclusion 
  • Racism in times of Covid-19
  • Inequity in the Academic Pipeline

Read it here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1244989594187124740.html

 

Pandemic punctures child-care illusion

Author: Susan Prentice

Published: March 25, 2020

Child-care services are essential for working parents, meaning that what we used to call "daycare" is critical for economic functioning. 

Susan Prentice asks why child care policies are missing in most regions of Canada?

Read it here: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/pandemic-punctures-child-care-illusion-569084332.html

 

My Life Is More ‘Disposable’ During This Pandemic: The ableism and ageism being unleashed is its own sort of pestilence.

Author: Elliot Kukla

Published: March 19, 2020 

A truly important read. We hear that the coronavirus 'only' impacts the elderly and those with underlying conditions. This type of language minimizes the life of disable, ill, and elder people, even more so of brown, black, queer bodies. 

Rabbi Kukla entangles ableist and ageist practices of the Holocaust, lack of response to the AIDS pandemic, and the curren Covid-19 pandemic, in order to illustrate how the lives of disabled, ill, and older people are made and assumed disposable. These events, yet, also show how care and love can be fostered among strangers. 

Read it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/opinion/coronavirus-disabled-health-care.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR3fYIbhRtGdJznmTlXWS9v2BDIQf9ZxvcrZpPlyotIjMjEF3n1QEXWW-8g

 

The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism

Author: Helen Lewis

Published: March 19, 2020

As much of normal life is suspended for three months or more, job losses are inevitable. At the same time, school closures and household isolation are moving the work of caring for children from the paid economy—nurseries, schools, babysitters—to the unpaid one.

Consequences for developing countries are severe. Lessons from the Ebola epidemic illustrate that effects will be seen during this crisis in the developed world. School closures affected girls’ life chances, because many dropped out of education. (A rise in teenage-pregnancy rates exacerbated this trend.) Domestic and sexual violence rose. And more women died in childbirth because resources were diverted elsewhere.

Read it here: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/03/feminism-womens-rights-coronavirus-covid19/608302/

Migrant worker groups slam new Canadian border restrictions

Author: Shree Paradkar

Published: March 16, 2020

This article explores the implications of closing Canadian borders to international citizens, which includes people living in Canada under student and working visas. A number of organizations representing migrant workers have mobilized to demand health care for all, and stronger labour laws that can protext the well-being of migrant workers. 

Read it here: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2020/03/16/migrant-worker-groups-slam-new-canadian-border-restrictions.html?fbclid=IwAR1YHO3-kss7SZakCASXE6y8-uvUpooe7KCfV36qsowN9c1qkz-lj7LKreQ