Ontario residents more likely to wear a mask than other regions in Canada, survey says
Long lines of masked shoppers wait to shop for groceries in Toronto on Thursday, April 9, 2020. On Tuesday, Toronto and Ottawa joined Kingston in establishing rules requiring a non-medical face covering inside buildings of businesses that are open to the public. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- Ontario residents are more likely to wear a mask and wash their hands than those in other regions of Canada months into the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey says.
According to a report by Canada’s national statistics agency issued on Wednesday, about eight in 10 Ontario respondents—or about 78 per cent—said they would wear a mask if physical distancing were not possible.
Fewer than 70 per cent of respondents from other regions reported that they would wear a mask in crowded places, with Quebec residents at the bottom of the list at about 52 per cent.
The majority of Ontario respondents also said they have been avoiding large gatherings (89.4 per cent) and remaining two metres away from others (87.3 per cent).
The data shows that only 65 per cent of respondents in Quebec, which borders Ontario, say they keep a two-metre distance from others.
Statistic Canada also found that Canadians living in rural areas were less likely to report that they would wear masks in public compared to those living in urban areas—a fact that may be governed by the sheer difference in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario and Quebec compared to the rest of the country.
As of Wednesday, more than 92,000 of Canada’s 106,166 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases can be found in those two provinces.
While there are regional discrepancies for some health safety measures, the majority of Canadians appear to agree that hand washing is a priority.
More than 90 per cent of survey respondents across all regions said they wash their hands more frequently now in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus with Ontario leading at 95.4 per cent.
Statistics Canada said that this data suggests “this measure has been widely adopted by most Canadians.”
About four in 10 workers in Canada feel unsafe returning to work
The survey found that about 38 per cent of Canadian workers reported not feeling safe enough to return to work due to the pandemic.
“The most commonly-reported reasons for not feeling safe were fear of contracting the virus and fear of infecting family members,” the survey said.
In Quebec and Ontario, more than 40 per cent of workers reported feeling unsafe about returning to work compared with the approximately 25 per cent in other regions.
The online survey was conducted by Statistics Canada between June 15 and June 21 and is the third poll since the pandemic was declared in March. In the report, Statistics Canada noted that “not all Canadians were equally likely to report that they would follow precautions in the context of activities resuming.”
Men were generally less likely than women to report whether they would follow COVID-19 health precautions, the report found, and young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24 were less likely to report whether they would wear a mask or remain physically distanced from others.