The ongoing coronavirus crisis is exposing health inequities that have long existed in Canada, according to those who study public health and infectious diseases.

Now, Canadian charities and agencies are busy trying to meet the increased economic need brought on by the pandemic as well.

“We can see that COVID-19 is hitting communities that are socially and economically marginalized or disadvantaged hardest,” McGill University associate professor Nicholas King, who studies public health policy and ethics, told Global News.

King says this impact has to do with a number of “structural disadvantage or cumulative disadvantage” factors, including living in “high-density” environments and working certain jobs now deemed essential during the pandemic.

“They have families to support, and now their occupations have been deemed essential,” King said of people living in such communities. “They have to go to work both to put food on the table and also because they’re in jobs where they still will be going to work.”

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While the majority of Canadians have been advised to stay at home to limit the spread of COVID-19, essential workers have little choice.