Expert says study needed of 'unintended consequences' of COVID-19 policies

A Saskatoon teen welcomes being back to regular life, attending class and seeing friends every day.

“As we go on and things are getting back to normal it’s much better,” Grade 12 student Godwin Akinbuwa said.

He said the switch to online learning was reasonable because policy changes had to happen quickly with COVID-19 spreading.

“To be honest I just kept moving. There’s not much you can really do about it and if they’re going to change how things work, they’re going to change how things work, but you just have to move forward anyway.”

Bukola Salami, a University of Alberta researcher who studies Black youth and immigrant health, was part of a panel of health experts for the Children’s Healthcare Canada webinar.

The topic centred around the impact the pandemic has had across the country and what areas need to be addressed.

“We need to look at the intended and unintended consequences of some of the broader policy,” Salami told CTV News.

Salami’s research deals with Black youth and she found that the shutdown of sports affected mental wellness for that group.

“It was impacting on their mental health and especially for many black youth, sports is a way and an outlet for them to be able to deal with some of the stresses they face in their life,” she said.

During the waves of the pandemic, the youth she studied were worried about things like employers cutting their hours if businesses had to shut down or reduce hours.

“They know that means that their income is going to be decreasing because my employer is going be cutting my hours and that has an impact on mental health,” she said.