A critical analysis of the construction of the new essential worker through the discursive practices of the Canadian news media during COVID-19: Implications for occupational rights
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The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government responses resulted in a shift in the identity of the essential worker that now included low wage essential workers. Using a critical discourse analysis methodology written news media texts were analyzed revealing various discursive strategies were utilized to construct the new essential worker identity. Findings revealed a fluid, complex identity that was politicized to advance other issues. The need to re-frame the definition of the essential worker was discussed along with the implications on the attainment of occupational rights for low wage essential workers.