While COVID-19 is primarily a health crisis, it is also a crisis of household financial security – one that will get worse absent concerted intervention. Pre-crisis, millions of Canadians households were already financially precarious. Months of social distancing, job loss, and stalling of global economic activity threaten catastrophe for many households.

The workplace is the channel through which most people access economic security. It is the primary source of most people’s income. Workplaces also provide millions of individuals with benefits, including retirement savings arrangements, health, life, and disability insurance, and employee assistance programs.

How can we use the workplace to protect the financial security of workers in the near term, while strengthening household balance sheets in the longer term? How can a workplace-based response supplement critical interventions by governments to supplement income and reduce expenses for individuals and businesses? 

Common Wealth and the coalition behind the Common Good Retirement Plan presented a webinar on April 16th to foster conversations across sectors to discuss these questions, as well as potential solutions. The discussion included Common Wealth’s Alex Mazer, Carleton University’s Dr. Jennifer Robson, and The Aspen Institute’s Karen Biddle Andres.

What was covered: 

  • Key potential elements of a workplace-based response to COVID-19
  • Ideas for what employers and other workplace organizations can do to assist workers in the current context
  • An update on the latest federal programs
  • What we can learn from actions being taken by some of the largest U.S. employers

Important links:

This conversation is for: 

  • Employers 
  • Labour unions, associations, and other membership-based organizations
  • Policy experts 
  • Government stakeholders 
  • Media