The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canadian Parliamentary Political Staffers

Article 6 / 14 , Vol 43 No 3 (Autumn)

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canadian Parliamentary Political Staffers

Like so many other Canadians, political staffers working for MPs and Senators on Parliament Hill and in constituency offices navigated some dramatic changes in their jobs in the early months of the global pandemic. In this article, the author reports on survey responses from 175 of these staffers and individual interviews with 10 MP staffers (representing all officially recognized parties in the House of Commons) and one Senate assistant. He notes that many staffers reported working longer hours and experiencing challenging work-life balance when working from home, frustration from the lack of information they received about government programs relating to the pandemic, and stress from the effects of isolation and fears about their health and safety when working from their offices. He concludes first by reiterating the important role political staffers, and particular frontline constituency office staff, play in assisting Canadians navigate the federal bureaucracy and, second, by cautioning parties and the parliamentary administration that counselling and services for staffers may be needed to minimize the harmful effects of this unprecedented period.

R. Paul Wilson
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