Food & Beverage Sector Worker Study (FABS)

FABS is a mixed-method study that aims to offer timely and critical scientific evidence on the effect of COVID-19 public health policies on the health and safety of workers in the food and beverage industry in British Columbia. A collaboration between the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity and the School of Population and Public Health at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, the project hopes 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 difference vaccination rates: the Greater Vancouver area and the Central Okanagan.

The food and beverage sectors in BC have been required to be highly responsive to public health 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

This project is a mixed-method study that has three aims:

  1. It will conduct in-depth narrative interviews in the food and beverage sector to understand the experiences of violence and harassment working under COVID-19 restrictions;
  2. A survey of food and beverage workers from the Metro Vancouver and Central Okanagan regions who have experienced violence or harassment will be conducted to understand the broader contexts and the determinants and outcomes of their experience;
  3. Facilitated work will be conducted with community-based organizations, employer and worker associations and WorkSafeBC to develop recommendations and guidelines to prevent and mitigate ongoing violence, bullying and harassment in the food and beverage industry.
About Us

PIs: Dr. Kathleen Deering and Dr. Chris McLeod

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

Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research