About us

The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Toronto, Canada. Our goal is to protect and improve the health and safety of working people by providing useful, relevant research in two key areas: (1) preventing work-related injury and illness, and (2) promoting recovery and work functioning following injury and illness. Our work provides impartial, evidence-based guidance to government policy-makers, health and safety associations, workers and employers, occupational health & safety professionals, disability management professionals and clinicians.


What we do

The Institute for Work & Health conducts research in two broad areas: primary prevention to ensure workers remain healthy and safe at work by preventing work-related injury and illness, and secondary prevention to improve the health and recovery of workers who have sustained a work- or non-work-related injury or illness that affects their ability to work. This research is conducted using study methods that are appropriate to the research question and that give rise to reliable, valid and trustworthy findings. Research results are then shared with stakeholders through a two-way knowledge transfer and exchange process, which is a core part of our mandate alongside research.


Our mission and values

The Institute for Work & Health focuses on a single mission: to promote, protect and improve the safety and health of working people by conducting actionable research that is valued by employers, workers and policy-makers. In pursuing this mission, we strive to ensure our research and knowledge exchange activities adhere to the values of excellence, integrity, accountability and respectfulness. And we follow six key principles in our conduct: listen, align, collaborate, be independent, be impartial and innovate.

Silhouette chalk drawing of group of people representing Board of Directors

Our funding and governance

The Institute for Work & Health is a not-for-profit organization that operates with core funding from the Province of Ontario, with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development holding the stewardship for this funding. The Institute has an arm's-length relationship with the Ministry to ensure the independence and impartiality of our research. We are governed by a Board of Directors made up of senior business, labour and academic leaders, and we get scientific guidance from a Scientific Advisory Committee, which reports to the Board.


Our history

The Institute for Work & Health was established in 1990 as the Ontario Workers’ Compensation Institute. Over the following decades, the fledgling organization with six staff and a loosely defined mandate grew to be a mature and unique interdisciplinary research and knowledge transfer organization with over 50 employees. Today, the Toronto-based Institute is recognized provincially, nationally and internationally for its contribution to the fields of occupational health, work injury and disability prevention, and work-related population health.