The Institute for Work & Health operates with core funding from the Province of Ontario. The stewardship of this funding lies with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD). Previously, from its origins in 1990 to the end of 2012, the Institute operated with core funding support from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
The Institute has an arm's-length relationship with the MLITSD, as it did previously with the WSIB. Although the core funder approves a general budget plan, the specifics of our research agenda, as well as how we conduct and report on our research, are all determined by IWH independently of our core funder. Three principles included in the preamble to our core funding agreement with the Ministry make this clear. The principles say IWH will:
- focus on research questions aligned to the mandate of the Province and to the protection of the health of workers in the Ontario labour market;
- be impartial in relationships with governmental or Crown agencies, employers, workers, clinicians and other interests in the Ontario labour market; and
- have independent authority to ensure research is conducted with integrity with respect to the principles of scientific excellence.
In addition to our core funding, IWH scientists are also awarded grants from funding agencies across North America. Among these are the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, WorkSafeBC, Manitoba Workers Compensation Board, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). These grants are awarded through a peer-review process.
IWH is overseen by a Board of Directors made up of senior business, labour and academic leaders. A Scientific Advisory Committee, which reports to the Board of Directors, provides guidance on our research activities. Its members are internationally renowned researchers in workplace health and safety, clinical treatment, population health, workers’ compensation and law. When active, a Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Advisory Committee, made up of stakeholder engagement and communications professionals from stakeholder organizations, provides guidance to the KTE Department.
Every year, the Institute publishes our Annual Report with an audited financial statement, our Activity Plan outlining the active research projects in the coming year, and our Accomplishments Report summarizing the progress made on our research projects during the previous year. About every five years, the Institute publishes the IWH Strategic Plan and the IWH Scientific Research Plan.
We consult with the MLITSD and WSIB on research priorities, and we also consult with (and engage in our research) health and safety associations, employers, unions, clinical practitioners and others. These consultations in no way affect the outcomes of our research; they are undertaken to ensure we are researching questions that matter to Ontario’s health and safety system partners.
Our findings are published in peer-reviewed journals to ensure the quality and integrity of our research.
The Institute is affiliated with several Canadian universities. IWH scientists teach and supervise students at the University of Toronto, McMaster University and Toronto Metropolitan University. Because of our association with the university community and our access to key data sources, IWH is respected as an advanced training centre. Graduate students and early-career researchers from Canada and abroad receive guidance and mentorship from IWH scientific staff and participate in projects, giving them first-hand experience and vital connections to the work and health research community.