Study Info

The Food Retail Environment Study for Health and Economic Resiliency (FRESHER) is composed of two parts: 1) a survey of current and former employees, and employers in the retail food industry; and 2) interviews with owners and senior managers of these businesses. This page provides more information about the study, and copies of the Letter of Information related to the survey and interview activities that you can download for your records. All of this information has already been made available to you if you have already participated in the study.

Participate in the Study

Why is this study being done?

This study will explore the effects of COVID-19 on the retail food environment across urban, suburban, and rural contexts. This evidence will be useful for policymakers to assess the impacts of COVID-19 financial support programs on business survival and adjust policies and programs to ensure Ontario’s food security during future pandemics and emergency situations. This research will identify the struggles faced by business owners and operators, and their current and former employees, as well as the variety of strategies that they have used to keep their businesses from closing. It will also identify responses by governments, BIA’s and other organizations to the COVID-19 crisis, exploring how these policies and programs have contributed to the resiliency of food retail businesses.


I participated in the Employer/Employee survey!

You can download a copy of the letter of information (PDF).

I participated in an interview!

You can download a copy of the letter of information (PDF).

I participated in the consumer survey!

You can download a copy of the letter of information (PDF).

What are my rights as a participant in this study?

Your participation in this study is voluntary. You may decide not to participate in this study. Even if you consent to participate you have the right to not answer individual questions or to withdraw from the study at any time. If you choose not to participate or to leave the study at any time it will have no effect on you, your employment, your business, or eligibility for government programs.

You do not waive any legal right by consenting to this study. You may request a copy of data pertaining to you as a participant in the study by contacting the researchers directly, quoting the unique confirmation code presented to you at the end of the survey.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Visit our contact page to learn more about how you can get in touch with the study team. If you, or someone you know, needs support during these challenging times, visit our list of resources on our help page