Working under the 2021 Heat Dome: A Content Analysis of Occupational Impacts Mentioned in the Canadian Media

Author: Emily J. Tetzlaff, Nicholas Goulet, Melissa Gorman, Leonidas G. Ioannou, Glen P. Kenny

Year: 2023

Extreme heat events directly impact worker health and cause additional cascading and transitional workplace impacts. However, current investigations on these impacts often rely on specific datasets (e.g., compensation claims, hospitalizations). Thus, to continue to work towards preventing and mitigating the occupational risks posed by extreme heat events, this study aimed to explore the occupational impacts of the 2021 Heat Dome in Canada using a qualitative content analysis method on a news-based dataset. A systematized review of news articles published before, during, and after the 2021 Heat Dome was conducted on academic (n = 8) and news (n = 5) databases, along with targeted grey literature. Two researchers qualitatively coded the articles in NVivo for occupational impacts or references mentioned within the articles. Overall, 52 different occupations were identified as being impacted by the 2021 Heat Dome. Impacts were diverse and ranged from work cancellations or delays to work modifications and reports of heat-related illnesses. The 2021 Heat Dome impacted the health and safety of many occupational groups and provided new insights into the expanding impacts that extreme heat events can have on the Canadian workforce. With climate projections showing a growing trend of more hot days and intense heat waves in Canada, addressing these concerns should be a critical priority.