Canadian Politics

A19(b) - COVID-19 in Canada: Equity, Participation, and Public Trust

Date: Jun 14 | Time: 01:45pm to 03:15pm | Location:

Women and Political Participation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Patricia Mockler (Queen's University), Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (Queen's University)
Abstract: This paper explores the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for women’s political participation in Canada. Drawing on data from the Canadian Election Study’s Democracy Checkup surveys, we examine how women’s participation evolved with the introduction of public health measures to manage the spread of the virus. Political participation has long been stratified by ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status in Canada. Women, racialized people, and people living with lower incomes participate in politics at lower rates than their white, male, and wealthier counterparts (Davidson et al. 2020; Tolley 2019; Bashevkin 2011). The disruptions caused by the COVID -19 pandemic changed the availability of important resources that are precursors to political participation; time, money, and access to opportunities for political socialization became scarcer. These disruptions were not distributed equally across sociodemographic groups but instead have been structured by the politics of gender, ethnicity, and class and have been most pronounced for those citizens who were less likely to participate in politics before the pandemic. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, women spent more time on domestic care work than men. Time use data collected in 2020 suggests that this gender gap in household labour widened with the closure of childcare facilities such as daycares and schools (Qian and Fuller 2020). We hypothesize that the additional time spent on domestic tasks was a barrier to women’s political participation during this time. We explore women’s political participation between 2020 and 2022 to better understand the gendered implications of the pandemic in Canada.

Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination: Exploring the Impact of Local Transit Access in Alberta’s Largest Cities: Kael Kropp (McGill University), Daniel Béland (McGill University; Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada), Alexandra Hays-Alberstat (McGill University)
Abstract: The healthcare system in Canada is a complex network overseen by federal, provincial, and territorial authorities, each with specific responsibilities (Martin et al., 2018). However, municipal-level decisions also play a vital role in achieving national health objectives, especially in ensuring health equity. A recent example is the challenge of achieving equity in COVID-19 vaccinations (Sebring et al., 2022). Even seemingly trivial municipal decisions related to transit infrastructure and planning can have significant impacts on individuals’ healthcare access (Foth et al., 2013). Transportation access is strongly influenced by socioeconomic disparities (Rezvani et al., 2023), mirroring healthcare distribution disparities within provincial jurisdiction that often favour privileged groups over vulnerable populations (Collins and Hayes, 2010). Public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, highlight the increasing importance of these local decisions. Previous municipal planning and development choices reveal disparities and strengths, particularly in connecting urban populations with lower incomes or lacking alternative transportation means to life-saving services. This study explores how local transit infrastructure in and around Alberta’s two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, influenced COVID-19 vaccine coverage between 2021 and 2022. Preliminary data analysis indicates that access to transit significantly facilitated vaccine uptake among vulnerable populations. Utilizing remote sensing and linear regression techniques with Alberta government datasets, we empirically examine how proximity to public transportation influenced vaccine coverage in these regions. The results emphasize the importance of intergovernmental collaboration between municipal and provincial governments and underscore the significance of accessible and comprehensive public transit systems.

Understanding inequities associated with the use of travel measures during the COVID-19 pandemic: The case of the US-Canada border.: Andréanne Bissonnette (Western Washington University), Kelley Lee (Simon Fraser University), Laurie Trautman (Western Washington University), Salta Zhumatova (Simon Fraser University)
Abstract: The uncoordinated, prolonged and frequently changing use of travel measures during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large-scale disruptions to individuals, economies and whole societies. While tradeoffs have been required between applying measures for public health risk mitigation and the wider societal impacts they cause, limited attention has been given to how these impacts have been experienced differentially across individuals, communities and countries. Focusing on four travel measures implemented to travels between Canada and the United States (border closure, quarantine, vaccine requirement, and testing), this research project aims to better understand how specific equity-deserving groups experienced and perceived travel measures in both countries. Building on mixed methods (online survey, focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and media analysis), this paper presents the preliminary results of the research. It first presents an overview of the research project (literature review, methodology, and theoretical frame), before delving into the preliminary findings of three methods: an extensive media analysis of newspapers articles published in English, French, and Spanish between March 20, 2020, and May 31, 2023; an online survey focusing on all four travel measures disseminated across both countries between Dec. 2023 and Feb. 2024; and focus groups conducted with selected equity-deserving populations (April-June 2024). In so doing, this paper furthers our understanding of how populations in Canada and the United States experiences and perceived travel measures, and their impacts on their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact of Economic Interventions on Economic Perceptions and Public Trust During COVID-19 in Canada: Guila Cohen (McGill University), Félix Laliberté (Université de Montréal), Mathieu Pelletier-Dumas (Université de Montréal), Dietlind Stolle (McGill University)
Abstract: Declining levels of public trust in government institutions and political leaders have become a growing concern in democracies. While existing research has delved into various factors contributing to this phenomenon, few have explored whether government economic interventions can increase trust. As governments increasingly turn to income support measures to address crises like COVID-19 and inflation, filling this gap in the literature is essential to inform policy decisions and research. Our study investigates how government economic policies during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted economic perceptions and public trust using a representative nationwide panel survey from April 2020 to April 2022 (final wave N = 1623). Our primary research question is how economic perceptions during the pandemic affected public trust in the government's ability to respond to the crisis effectively. Furthermore, we examine the extent of fluctuations in economic perceptions throughout the pandemic and how government relief shaped public perceptions of the financial situation in Canada. Our analysis extends to evaluating the effectiveness of these economic policies in mitigating economic disruptions and enhancing public perception as the pandemic dragged on and the economic impact became more pervasive. We will use various quantitative methods, such as correlational, regression, and longitudinal analysis, to comprehensively understand the complex relationship between government actions, public perception, and trust in times of crisis. This study will address a critical research gap and offer valuable insights into the multifaceted dynamics between government actions, public perceptions, and trust during times of crisis, with implications for researchers and policymakers alike. Keywords: COVID-19, economic perceptions, public trust, government policies, Canada.