Would you be willing to volunteer in a CHSLD? Most Montrealers wouldn't: poll

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A new study suggests young people, and people outside Montreal, would be more likely to volunteer in a seniors' residence in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies asked Canadians across the country whether they'd be willing to volunteer in a seniors' residence that had a confirmed case of COVID-19, and 75 per cent of those polled would be not very or not at all willing. Only 21 per cent said they would be very or somewhat willing.

More men (24 per cent) said they'd be willing than women (18 per cent).

Among young people, 35 per cent said they'd be willing.

But among Montrealers, living in the Canadian epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, just 15 per cent told the pollster they'd be willing to go in.

Jack Jedwab, the head of the Association for Canadian Studies, says fear of contracting COVID-19 is the main factor at play.

"The level of fear about contracting the contagion is still relatively high,"Jedwab says, "and there's an important relationship between the extent to which people fear getting the contagion and their willingness to volunteer in one of these CHSLDs where there may be some cases of COVID."

Jedwab suggests overall, people who responded may have felt the complusion to give the quote-unquote 'right' answer to that question — the right answer being, yes, they'd be willing. But that wasn't the case among the Montrealers who were polled.

"People will think that the right answer is to suggest you'll volunteer, even if you may not volunteer," he says, "and yet that's not the case here [in Montreal]. People were quite ready to indicate that there was no way they were willing to do so."

The study also suggests immigrants were more likely to say they would volunteer as non-immigrants, and those from low-income backgrounds were more willing than their higher-income counterparts.

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