The Anatomy, Determinants and Impacts of the Cargill COVID‑19 Outbreak Among Newcomers and their Families in Canada

Fabreau, Gabriel | $364,913

Alberta The University of Calgary 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety has reported that the High River Cargill Meat Processing Plant did not engage workers or their representatives in its investigation of Canada’s largest single-site COVID‑19 outbreak. With nearly 1600 infections, this outbreak makes up a quarter of all the COVID‑19 infections in Alberta to date and is the largest COVID‑19 outbreak cluster in North America. Our health project will study: 1) How the outbreak spread?; 2) Why it spread? and; 3) What was the response? To do this, we will work closely with the Alberta Health Services Public Health team, healthcare workers and social services that responded to this outbreak. We will also work closely with the UCFW Union Local 401, engage community members and work with Cargill employees to do this proposed research. Our embedded mixed-methods case study will collect and share all health-related data and stories from Cargill employees and their families to understand why this rapid outbreak occurred and understand how it affected these workers and their families. This work will advance our understanding of how the outbreak began, what factors led to its rapid spread, and why it affected mostly new immigrant, refugee and temporary foreign worker (newcomers) employees and their communities. The ongoing COVID‑19 response and future Canadian public health responses require a detailed investigation to prevent similar outbreaks and create knowledge the public health, healthcare and social services systems need to improve care and community trust during COVID‑19 outbreaks.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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