By Frank Fulton
I hope there is the realization of the importance and contributions of those who we all came to rely on so heavily.
By Frank Fulton
For the past number of months it seems we’ve done nothing but lived and breathed the new reality of life, the COVID-19 reality. We’re probably in the midst of what will likely be the most historically significant event of our lifetimes. Future generations will be affected and many things we took for granted just a few months ago will never be the same. My expectation is that life will not normalize until a proven vaccine is in place and the best scenario for that seems to be mid-2021. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve been living the movie Groundhog Day for the past few months. I’m itching to see friends and colleagues, to eat dinner at a restaurant, to golf, to shop, to be doing anything that changes the tedious routine I’m forced to follow. At the same time I’m glad that our governments have chosen the path of protecting lives and not exposing people to risk in the interest of short term economic gains. For the first time in my life, last week I paid for drive-thru fast food with a credit card. I believe that by the time this pandemic is over we will be a cashless society. I also believe that you may never shake another hand for as long as you live.
I have a feeling that the way we are used to working will be changed forever. Working remotely felt pretty weird at the beginning of this escapade but as we get more used to the routine, the more natural it seems. If the work can get done without the need of maintaining the expense of an office environment, working remotely may become the norm and not the exception. The spinoff of this will be a huge decrease in the demand for rental office space, empty office buildings, and a big decline in the construction industry. For the same reasons, I can see business travel and remote meetings being pared down to a minimum. If teleconferencing works so well while we are self-isolating, why not after? I also anticipate that leisure travel will decrease significantly. I expect that airlines and the businesses that cater to leisure will be facing a very difficult number of years to come.
The most heartbreaking outcome of the COVID-19 outbreak has been the devastating loss of so many seniors lives. It has exposed those institutions whose responsibility it is for the well being of these people as incompetent, mismanaged, and governed by greed. We have a system where bureaucratic apathy coupled with underfunding and profiteering homecare owners calling all the shots exposed this vulnerable class of people to unacceptable risk. Perhaps now that it is too late, seniors care homes will be legislated to strict rules of compliance that safeguard the residents and not the owners.
There are two silver linings I would like to see coming from the pandemic. I hope there is the realization of the importance and contributions of those who we all came to rely on so heavily during the emergency: grocery store workers, food processors and preparers, delivery people, sanitation workers, health care workers in hospitals and in seniors homes, to name a few. Instead of simply expressing our gratitude, I hope the day has finally come when these working poor can be rewarded properly for the work they do and that fair and decent living wage legislation is immediately put in place.
Along the same lines, it was exposed that most of the support staff working in senior care facilities were forced to work at a number of different homes and as a result were spreading the virus from home to home to home. The reason they had to work at different homes is because they are offered only part time work. Although these are clearly full time jobs, and probably some of the most distasteful work you could ever imagine doing, the operators of these homes are allowed to take advantage of loopholes in the labour laws and the working poor they hire. The government permits them to conduct their businesses in this way to cut costs by paying the workers no benefits. This practice is not limited to health care and it is my hope that the silver lining in this tragedy is that the government create legislation with teeth to put an end to the disgraceful way some companies are allowed profit on the backs of marginalized employees.