Food & Beverage Sector Worker Study (FABS)

Food and Beverage Sector Worker (FABS) Study: Exploring the effect of COVID-19 policies on violence, bullying and harassment in the service sector in British Columbia.

FABS is a mixed-method study that aims to offer timely and critical evidence of the impact of COVID-19 public health policies on the health and safety of workers in the food and beverage service sector in British Columbia. A collaboration between the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity, the Partnership for Work Health and Safety in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC, and the Department of History and Sociology at UBC, Okanagan the project aims to shed light on how public health responses have created and exacerbated gendered and racialized bullying, harassment and violence against workers, with particular focus on two settings in BC with substantially different vaccination rates: the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan.

The food and beverage sectors in BC have been required to observe all public health restrictions and guidelines. Essential workers have been required to work at considerable risk in environments where there was and continues to be COVID-19 exposure. People who have been minoritized and marginalized due to race, gender, sexual identity, im/migration status and class are overrepresented in the food and beverage sector and are at high risk of harassment at work. Workers are often precariously employed and are at a power disadvantage with employers and customers. Growing evidence suggests that COVID-19 working conditions, including the requirement to enforce COVID-19 workplace safety protocols, has put these workers at a greater risk for harassment and violence as well as consequent negative physical and mental health outcomes.

Research Objectives
  1. This project is a mixed-method study that has three aims:
    Explore the gendered and racialized lived experiences of bullying, harassment and violence of workers while working under COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Assess and characterize the prevalence and social-structural correlates of bullying, harassment, and violence of food and beverage sector workers in the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan.
  3. Working with community-based organizations, employer and worker associations, and WorkSafeBC to develop and implement a knowledge translation strategy that will provide recommendations and guidelines to prevent and mitigate ongoing violence, bullying and harassment in the food and beverage industry.
About FABS


Principal Investigators: Dr. Kathleen Deering and Dr. Chris McLeod

Co-Investigators: Dr. Luis Aguiar, Dr. Andrea Krüsi, Ms. A Keefe, Dr. Stephanie Premji, Dr. Sean Tucker

Qualitative Research Lead, UBC: Dr. Stephanie Skourtes


Canadian Institutes of Health Research