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Flu knocked out 9% of workforce

OTTAWA -- The H1N1 virus tag-teamed with the regular seasonal flu this fall to put 9 percent of Canadian workers out of commission.

According to Stats Canada, 1.5 million employed people aged 15 to 69 were absent from work in November as a result of either flu. They lost 19.6 hours of work each, for a total of 29.5 million hours lost.

In the same month, 600,000 people put in 8.6 million extra hours at work, resulting in a net loss of 20.9 million hours.

Statscan compared the impact of the flu on to the Ontario-US power outage in August 2003, which cost over 2 million workers in Ontario and Quebec, 26.4 million hours of work time.

The age group most affected by the flu was workers aged 30 to 44.

Provincially, flu-related absenteeism was highest among workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, where 14.2 percent of workers called in sick.

Workers in education, government service and religion reported the highest rate of being absent from work due to the flu. 

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