“I took every shift I could get, up to 70-hours per week, to make ends meet. With wages that low, this is what you have to do.” Lisa Cameron reports on Justin Trudeau’s 2019 promise of a federal minimum wage of at least $15 and hour, starting in 2020, and rising with inflation. We are in the final days of 2020, and yet Trudeau has taken no steps to honour this commitment.

A group of researchers from Acadia University are studying work and health during COVID-19 through the experiences of grocery and retail workers, long-term care workers, and teachers in Nova Scotia. Although the study is ongoing, the preliminary findings offer insight into the daily struggles of Nova Scotia’s retail and grocery workers, teachers, and long term care workers, as well as the pandemic’s impact on their mental health and stress levels.

Lisa Cameron reports how a server at a popular Halifax restaurant was fired after she went into quarantine, even though earlier she was told her job would be waiting for her. That is against the law and also infringes on the worker’s human rights, she writes.

“We were short-staffed to begin with. Now it is a disaster,” says a Halifax long term care worker employed at three separate group homes, reflecting on the first COVID-19 wave. “Of course, when someone feels sick, it is important that they stay home. But nobody is there to replace them. The care responsibilities are falling on fewer and fewer of us. Everyone calls us heroes, but we don’t have a choice. This is our job.”