WINDSOR, ONT. -- How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you? A Canada-wide study wants to know.

During the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s daily briefing, CEO Teresa Marentette announced WECHU would be partnering with the University of Windsor in the Cohesion Study.

“The cohesion study is long term study about COVID-19 being conducted across Canada led by a team of epidemiologists, public health researchers, mental health experts from the University of Montreal as well as academic partners at the University of Windsor and various public health authorities from across the country,” she said.

One of the principal investigators on the study, Dr. Kate Zinszer of the school of public health at the University of Montreal said COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s daily lives, making people realize the importance of some key areas.

“With the lockdown measures we have also realized the importance of our housing, the quality of our neighbourhoods and of course the health care system and how this differs across communities in Canada,” she said.

Dr. Zinszer said this has highlighted many of the inequalities across neighbourhoods and communities in Canada that have existed long before COVID-19.

“The goal to better understand the impacts of the pandemic,” she said. “To help us build a better, more inclusive, and sustainable future for communities where everyone can thrive.”

Dr. Kevin Milne, associate dean of academic programs in human kinetics at the University of Windsor said he felt it was really important for the people of Windsor-Essex to have a voice in a national study.

“Some of the decisions that will be made in the future, current decisions, and offering support programs for those people that are finding it more difficult than others. I think it’s really important for us to be a part of that,” he said.

Dr. Milne said he hopes that the University of Windsor can play a larger role in the study in the future, but for now, he’s happy to facilitate Tuesday’s meeting, and is recommending the people of Windsor-Essex participate.

“Unfortunately we’re maybe moving a little bit slower than the rest of the province so we might have some very unique answers or experiences to share especially in this research study so I want us to have a voice,” he said.

“It’s really important for all people, all communities to have a voice.”

The study was launched at the beginning of June and has several partners across the country and continues to develop more.

Those looking to participate would receive a questionnaire twice a month inquiring about health, mental health, food and housing security, housing conditions, social interactions, physical activity and activity spaces.

For those unable to complete the questionnaire online, phone support will be available.

“In any type of emergencies or public health events, there’s a lot of opportunity to learn from it,” said Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

“And research activities like these provide us good measures and good answers to some of the questions that can be implemented — even right now — and (that we) are prepared for the future.”

Those looking to add their voice to the study can participate through the Cohesion Study website.