Our 25-minute documentary, directed by Rob Viscardis and produced by Natasha Luckhardt, is set to premiere at Reframe International Film Festival, 2023. Originally produced as a short-doc series, it has been re-imagined as a film, and is now playing festivals and has screened at labour conferences and events.
In March 2020, our lives were rocked by a global pandemic. We were ushered inside, confined to four walls, estranged from loved ones, and told to wait in limbo. We could not hug our parents, hold newborn babies, console loved ones, celebrate or grieve. But we managed to find new traditions. We supported small businesses, made noise for health – care workers, walked with friends, told people we love them more often, and slowed down to remember what and who matter most: our loved ones, health, community, and frontline workers.
While frontline workers were keeping the province alive and well, they were in danger of falling victim to the coronavirus. Migrant workers, airport taxi/limo drivers, and personal support workers, among others, were victims of the virus, and our system in crisis. And most, if not all deaths, were preventable.
The pandemic unearthed and exacerbated the fault lines in our system for workers: No paid sick days, profit over people in private long-term care, the unequal burden of disease on Black, Indigenous and Workers of Colour and on persons with disabilities, the lack of power workers have to speak out and up. All of these cracks in the sidewalk existed before the pandemic. But they were patched up or side stepped by politicians.
In this documentary, we gain intimate access to the homes and minds of workers who share harrowing and perplexing stories of the impact the government and their employers’ response to COVID-19 had on their lives. As they welcome the audience into their homes, we feel the weight and aftershock of the downstream effects on their families and communities. The people in these films all have questions for our system, and are looking for answers. We see it as a Worker’s Commission. You will remember their stories forever.