Precarious work is a growing phenomenon in Canada’s health sector despite evidence showing correlation between adverse health outcomes and precarious employment. A growing number of Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are in non-unionized, part-time, and temporary jobs. Coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic also shed lights on the unsafe work conditions that many PSWs face. In light of these concerns, our study aims to: 1) closely examine the general working conditions and health of PSWs in Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and 2) better understand the work conditions and safety of PSWs in GTA during the COVID-19 pandemic. This community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) project engages a PSW Advisory Committee who provide guidance on the study design. We employ Respondent Driven Sampling Model to recruit more than 600 PSWs in a cross-sectional survey and select 30 PSWs to be interviewed.
The findings from this project can improve our understanding of worker needs in the health sector, which could be used to inform policy reforms and advocacy on changes to employment standards. The means of knowledge dissemination and key recommendations will be developed with the Advisory Committee. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, we hope to engage with labour organizations to share the knowledge garnered from the study.