It’s More than Just CERB…

Vaccination rates are climbing. Provinces are starting to reopen. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. And yet we are still stumbling to figure out what comes next it seems. This article in the Toronto Star caught my eye:

This sentiment is something I’ve seen pop up online in social media. The notion that CERB or the Canada Response Benefit is holding people back from returning to work. That those who are receiving the payment are inherently lazy and don’t want to work. The rebuttal is that, if receiving CRB is more appealing than returning to your work place, then you need to provide better working conditions. Which is a compelling argument I admit.

However I think there is more to this situation than meets the eye. I do believe there is a bit of truth to the argument being made above, I also believe it’s too simplistic. People want to do things with their lives. Things that bring meaning and purpose to it. Sometimes that’s through work. There are people who genuinely enjoy working in the hospitality industry. They enjoy helping to show strangers a good evening, through good food, good music and welcoming service. To say they are lazy for choosing to receive the CRB is a disservice to the benefit they would provide to your company or business.

Instead, I suspect its a matter of burned expectations. Which isn’t necessarily the fault of the employer. Think back over the pandemic. The false starts, that lead to lockdowns. Employees eager to return to work only to be told go back home, you’re not needed. On top of that refusal of anti-vaxxers and other conspiracy theorists to be vaccinated can add a degree of uncertainty for returning employees to the work place. While employers are no doubt eager to be making money again, for employees of children under 12, or with immuno-compromised individuals in their homes might be hesitant. Too much uncertainty exists in the workforce. Do you dive back in uncertain if your job will be there for the long haul? Is your employer ensuring that they are as safe as possible?

For some employers, this isn’t as easy as it sounds either. Do you risk alienating customers, should you require proof of vaccination to enter your premises? Are your competitors doing likewise? Business owners might be hesitant to take steps on their own with so much uncertainty surrounding the reopening of the economy.

I said it before on here, COVID-19 passports for Ontario are a prudent idea. It’s one tool in the quiver to help reassure the public as well as workplaces that they are safe to reopen. Not to mention that if workplaces such as restaurants and retail are able to demonstrate to the public that they have minimized COVID-19 exposure to as much of a minimum as possible, it might prevent the risk of another lockdown. COVID-19 has changed so much of how we live, possibly permanently. It’s time to accept the reality of that, and work to build a new paradigm through which we live and work. We’ve already done it so far, why not continue that?

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