Seniors and women are more likely to wear masks than other groups of Canadians, according to a new survey. (Photo courtesy of Patti Anthony)

Younger Canadians, men less likely to wear masks, according to Stats Canada

Immigrants, especially immigrant women, more likely to follow precautions

Younger Canadians are less likely to wear to a mask and almost 40 per cent of Canadians who remain absent from their regular place of work are afraid of returning.

These are some of the findings that appear in a report from Statistics Canada tracking the social and economic activities of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report tracked the reported willingness of Canadians to continue practising various precautions as provincial governments lift various restrictions across the country.

Young Canadians aged 15 to 24 (53 per cent) were especially less likely than Canadians aged 65 and older (78 per cent) to report that they would wear a mask in public. Overall, about two out of three Canadians (65 per cent) reported that they would wear masks in public places where physical distancing appears difficult.

Men were also generally less likely than women to report that they would follow precautions as COVID-19 measures relax. Just under 60 per cent of men said that they would wear a mask in public places where physical distancing is difficult, compared with 72 per cent of women

Notably, immigrants said they were more likely than people born in Canada to take precautions, such as wearing masks (80 per cent compared to 61 per cent), avoid crowds and large gatherings (93 per cent compared to 81 per cent), and keep their distance from others (89 per cent compared to 78 per cent).

RELATED: Only 20% of B.C. workers feel ‘very comfortable’ returning to work during pandemic: poll

One precaution available during the height of pandemic for some but not call Canadians was working from home, and the report suggests that many Canadians are not yet ready to give up on it.

“Months after COVID-19 began to spread in Canada, a large number of Canadian workers continue to work from home or are simply absent from their physical workplace,” it notes.

Close to four in 10 Canadian workers who were not in their regular workplace (38 per cent) told Statistics Canada that they did not feel safe returning to work.

“The most commonly reported reasons for not feeling safe were fear of contracting the virus and fear of infecting family members,” it notes. “About 30 per cent per cent said that they felt safe returning to their physical workplace, and another 32 per cent said that they did not know or chose not to answer the question.”

According to the survey, immigrant women were particularly likely to report that they did not feel safe going back to work (59 per cent). “Such results could be related to the nature of the work performed by this particular group of workers,” it notes in pointing to a previous report that shows immigrants account for a growing proportion of nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates.

In 2016, 245,500 people worked as nurse aides and orderlies and patient service associates. Of these workers, more than a third (87,925) were immigrants. By comparison, immigrants represented less than one in four people in all other occupations.

Women, according to the report, accounted for the majority of nurse aides, orderlies and client service associates, among both immigrants (86 per cent) and non-immigrants (87 per cent).


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