Details of Fact-checking COVID-19 information
Tips to Evaluate COVID-19 Resources
From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an enormous amount of information has been communicated about the virus and how to keep ourselves and our workplaces safe.
Unfortunately, not all of this information is reliable. It might not be applicable to your specific workplace situation, or it could change as the pandemic continues to evolve. Here are some tips on determining if you should use a particular COVID-19 resource.
On this page
Three questions to ask
Can the information
Always use official sources that are credible and trustworthy, such as those who:
- Are widely recognized as trusted subject experts.
- Post guidance that is based on accepted scientific data and research.
- Use a critical appraisal process to form their decisions.
- May have the legal authority to set policy and write legislation.
- Provide current and applicable legislation and guidance.
- Are impartial and unbiased.
- Are transparent about their purpose, mandate, and funding.
- Provide links to other credible sources and references.
- Are supported by other official sources.
- Offer assistance with interpreting and applying the requirements.
- Work to disprove unsubstantiated, harmful, and biased COVID-19 misinformation.
Credible information sources include:
- Federal, provincial, and municipal governments
- Current posted occupational health and safety legislation
- Canadian occupational health and safety regulatory offices
- Public health organizations and authorities
- Enforcement officers and inspectors
- Global organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Journals that publish peer-reviewed scientific literature
- Certified occupational health and safety consultants and medical professionals
- Industry associations
Here are some trustworthy occupational and COVID-19 information sources:
- Federal and provincial government departments responsible for occupational health and safety in Canada
- Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)this is a link to an external website
- World Health Organization (WHO)this is a link to an external website
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
2. Does the information
apply to my workplace?
COVID-19 guidance isn’t always one-size-fits-all. Make sure you are using the appropriate information for your workplace and the type of work being done.
Your workplace might have sector-specific regulations, requirements, and guidance. For example, healthcare settings have very specific personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation, and disinfection requirements that must be followed.
The jurisdiction in which your workplace operates is also important. Your workplace may be regulated at the federal or provincial level, and each province may have its own approach to legislating health and safety. For example, the laws about who pays for PPE (employer or worker) are not the same in every province.
Check the original publication date, ‘currency date’, or ‘last updated’ date. The current situation, knowledge, and guidance may have changed since the information was first published. For example, instructions from the government regarding essential services, building occupancy and gathering size limits, non-medical mask use, and other protective control measures could change as the pandemic continues to evolve. Health and safety legislation is also periodically updated or revoked; make sure you are not using an outdated or archived version, especially if you got the information online. Continue to check for updated information so you can adjust your workplace response.
The COVID-19 ‘infodemic’
The abundance of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 and the pandemic response has led to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a COVID-19 ‘Infodemic’.
We’re not just
infodemic. ~ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the Munich
February 15, 2020
Infodemic: overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that occurs during an epidemic. It can lead to confusion and ultimately mistrust in governments and public health response.
Infodemic management: applying evidence-based interventions that bring understandable, localized evidence-based information to citizens and drive positive health-seeking behaviour.
message at the right time from the right messenger through the right medium can save lives -
misinformation or mixed messages can cost lives.” ~ WHO
Organizations such as WHO and UNESCO are working to understand and develop ways to combat the COVID-19 infodemic on a global scale. Learn more about the infodemic and the emerging fields of Infodemiology and Infodemic Management:
- Infodemic Management – Infodemiology (WHO) this is a link to an external website
- Combating the disinfodemic: Working for truth in the time of COVID-19, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) this is a link to an external website
Hoaxes, myths, and misinformation about COVID-19 can spread rapidly on social media, undermining public health and safety efforts and resulting in harm to people.
While many platforms are beginning to add built-in fact-checking tools, you can help stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation by:
- Not sharing rumours and speculation.
- Double-checking your facts.
- Using trusted sources to get news and information.
- Asking “how do you know that’s true?” when discussing COVID-19.
- Speaking up when you see false information being shared.
Several COVID-19 myths found on social media have been proven false, including:
- NO, 5G mobile networks do not spread COVID-19.
- NO, wearing a medical mask does not cause CO2 intoxication or oxygen deficiency.
- NO, injecting or ingesting bleach does not cure COVID-19, and is very dangerous.
Fact-checking websites and tools
Here are some helpful websites and tools that you can use to check COVID-19 information you come across.
- False and misleading claims, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) this is a link to an external website
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters, World Health Organization (WHO) this is a link to an external website
- How to report misinformation online, World Health Organization (WHO) this is a link to an external website
- Myths & Misinformation, University of Toronto – Gerstein Science Information Centre this is a link to an external website
- How to recognize a reliable source of information on health, Government of Québec this is a link to an external website
- COVIDCanada News Dashboard, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University this is a link to an external website
- COVID-19 Misinfo Fact Checking, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University this is a link to an external website
- International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), Poynter Institute this is a link to an external website
- Snopes Homepage, Snopes this is a link to an external website
- Fact Check Tools, Google this is a link to an external website
- The Internet Trust Tool, News Guard this is a link to an external website
- A Guide to Our Coronavirus Coverage, FactCheck.org this is a link to an external website
- How to Spot Fake News, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) this is a link to an external website
- Infotagion Homepage, Infotagion this is a link to an external website
- Coronavirus Fact Check, Politifact this is a link to an external website
- COVID-19 Disinformation News and Analysis, Polygraph.info this is a link to an external website