Compensation and benefit policy

When workers are injured or people with disabilities are unable to work, they usually turn to compensation and benefit systems for the income and other supports they need to deal with the physical, emotional and financial consequences of the injury or illness. Like most benefit payment systems, Canada’s workers’ compensation and disability support systems are complex and sometimes give rise to disputes. Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research in this area aims to help point the way forward by finding out what is working (and what is not) in the world of public- and private-sector disability support programs, including workers’ compensation, public pension and unemployment programs for people with disabilities.

Latest news and findings

Fracking rig workers in BC climb tower

IWH Speaker Series presentation: the nature and extent of claim suppression in B.C.

A new IWH Speaker Series season is around the corner. To start off the season on Tuesday, September 28, presenters Dr. Ron Saunders, an adjunct scientist at IWH, and John O’Grady, a partner at Prism Economics and Analysis, share their research estimating the nature and extent of claim suppression in British Columbia. Find out more on the events page.

Go to the event page
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IWH set to launch telementoring project on occupational medicine for health professionals

Frontline health-care providers play an important role in helping people return to work following a work-related injury or illness. But family doctors and other frontline practitioners may lack familiarity with the workers’ compensation system and return-to-work processes. A new telementoring project is being launched in Ontario to address this skills gap. Project ECHO on Occupational and Environmental Medicine, to be hosted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), will launch in the fall. It will be the first such project on occupational medicine, using the innovative hub-and-spoke health-care mentoring model called ECHO—short for Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes—that’s now used around the world.

Find out more
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Unemployment benefits linked to lower mortality rates over 10 years: IWH study

We know that being out of work puts people at risk of short- and long-term health consequences—including higher death rates. A new Institute for Work & Health study looks at whether—and how much—having income support during unemployment can lessen the negative impact.

Read the article
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Claim suppression study in B.C. finds half of work-related injuries, illnesses not reported  

About half of British Columbia workers who have a lost-time work injury or illness don’t report the injury or illness to WorkSafeBC. This is according to a recent study on claim suppression commissioned by WorkSafeBC and conducted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Prism Economics and Analysis. It found the main reasons for not reporting are workers not knowing they are entitled to compensation or how to apply, and thinking it’s not worth their time to make a claim. As detailed in a policy briefing, the study also found an estimated four to 13 per cent of people with work-related injuries in B.C. experience claim suppression—i.e. pressure or inducement from an employer not to make a claim.

Read the Issue Briefing
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How much does depression set Canadian workers back in earnings?

Does depression hurt the earning potential of affected workers in Canada and, if so, how much? That was what IWH Research Associate Kathleen Dobson set out to find. Using an innovative technique, she calculated the average drop in workers’ earnings in the first year after workers experienced a depressive episode—and how much ground they continued to lose over 10 years.

Read about the findings