From Frontline Heroes to Essential Zeroes: 70% of Canadians Want the Unvaccinated Fired

By Neil Campbell | November 17, 2021
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
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Angus Reid has found 70 percent of Canadians want unvaccinated frontline and essential workers to lose their livelihoods
A firefighter hangs out the side of her firetruck and films cheering hospital workers as Toronto first responders parade down hospital row in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in a salute to healthcare workers on April 19, 2020. Essential workers are no longer heroes in the eyes of 70 percent of Canadians surveyed in a recent Angus Reid Institute poll, unless they have accepted COVID-19 vaccination. (Image: COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

A new poll has unveiled how most Canadians really feel about their frontline and essential workers: if you’ve accepted a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) injection, you’re a hero. If you decline, you’re a zero and should lose your livelihood.

The findings were published on Nov. 15 by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI), based on an online survey that sampled 1,611 Canadians between Nov. 3 to 7 in the Institute’s online forum. 

The main question posed was: Do you support or oppose workers being fired from these places if they refuse to be vaccinated?

The results, which sampled all respondents, showed 71 percent of the flock called for the termination of unvaccinated “on-board airline employees,” while 69 percent voted to give the axe to unvaccinated school teachers, police, paramedics, firefighters, and medical professionals.

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A 64 percent majority agreed with termination of restaurant employees who buck the vaccination trend. This majority was the lowest when it came to firing construction workers, with only 55 percent in agreement.

Regarding “people who work for small private businesses in your community (under 10 employees),” the majority still called for blood, with 53 percent casting a ballot for ending the livelihood of the vaccine resistant.

Broken down by Province, Angus Reid found that the percentage of respondents in favor of termination were the highest in British Columbia, Ontario, and the Atlantic provinces.

Provincial results showed support for firing unvaccinated tradespeople and small business staff was actually in the minority, albeit just barely, in the prairie provinces and Quebec. Only 46 percent of Saskatchewan residents voted to pink slip construction workers and only 45 percent of Quebecors voted to curb private business staff.

ARI disclosed that of the 1,611 respondents, 171 were identified as unvaccinated. Of the 171 unvaccinated respondents, between 10 and 12 percent voted in favor of terminating unvaccinated essential workers. That number fell to 7 percent for restaurant workers and 5 percent for tradesmen and small business staff.

It is unclear if the Angus Reid Forum requires proof of vaccination to participate.

According to data from aggregator Covidvax Live, Canada has distributed a full course of COVID vaccines to 75.55 percent of its eligible population, pushing between 27,000 to 99,000 new doses each day in the month of November.

“Partisan loyalties appear to be another good indicator of support for dismissing unvaccinated employees,” reads survey results. “Those who voted Liberal in September’s federal election are most supportive, followed closely by past NDP voters and Bloc Québécois voters. CPC supporters are most divided, depending on profession canvassed.”

Vaccination appears to be overwhelmingly favored with Canadians. In October, Angus Reid ran a similar poll on more than 5,000 adults asking the question of whether they would vaccinate their child aged 5 to 11 once a pediatric injection was approved.

Only 23 percent of respondents said they would spare the younger generation from injection.

At the end of October, a study published in The Lancet funded by the United Kingdom government and conducted by UK researchers found there was effectively no difference in transmission of COVID based on vaccination status.

Data in the research did quietly reveal, however, that fully vaccinated contacts were infected by fully vaccinated individuals at a higher rate than unvaccinated individuals.

Vaccinated Canadians are feeling confident they are safe from contracting COVID. In a separate question in this week’s survey, 52 percent of vaccinated respondents said they were “not at all concerned” about “personally becoming sick from the coronavirus.”

In a mental health self-evaluation question on “dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” more than 87 percent of both males and females aged 55-and-up rated their feelings as “great/good.”

This statistic appears to coincide with vaccine uptake. According to the Government of Canada’s vaccine tracker, 85 to 96 percent of those aged over 50 have accepted full vaccination.

Sentiment for feeling safe and protected was correlated to income level. 80 percent of those making $50,000 to $99,999 per year rated their mental health as “great/good,” and 77 percent of those making over $100,000 reported the same. Notably, 38 percent of those making $25,000 or less rated their mental health as “not good/terrible.”

By contrast, in an online poll conducted Nov. 16 by conservative-leaning independent media outlet Western Standard Online, of 1,248 respondents, 96.23 percent said they were actually opposed to terminating the unvaccinated’s employment status.