An examination of the working conditions and risk factors for work-related injuries among immigrant workers in Ontario

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Dr. Peter Smith
Institute for Work & Health

Immigrants are an increasingly important segment of Canadian society, in particular to the Canadian labour market. While there is much Canadian research on the earnings of immigrants — documenting that recent immigrants earn less than Canadian-born workers — there has been relatively little research in Canada on the occupational health and safety (OHS) risks facing immigrant workers, or on the incidence and consequences of work injuries among immigrants compared to Canadian-born workers.

In this presentation, Dr. Peter Smith will report the results of a recently completed project at the Institute for Work & Health examining OHS risk factors, work injuries and compensation after injury among recent immigrant workers in Canada. The results suggest that recent immigrants to Canada face a number of OHS hazards that put them at increased risk of work-related injuries requiring medical attention. In addition, the results suggest recent immigrants are at an increased risk of not receiving any compensation following a work-related absence of seven days or longer.

However, considerable gaps still exist in our knowledge about immigrant workers. These knowledge gaps and policy recommendations will be discussed.