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


Research impact: WHO rehabilitation guidelines build on IWH systematic reviews

In February 2017, the World Health Organization released its report Rehabilitation in health systems. Aimed primarily at low- and middle-income countries, the report sets out evidence-based recommendations to help government leaders and health policy-makers develop or extend rehabilitation services and deliver them equitably within existing health systems. Five of the nine recommendations contained in the report relied on the evidence synthesized by a research team from the Institute for Work & Health.

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Study: Family members play important role in work injury recovery

When someone gets injured, family members often rally to help with chores, shoulder the child- or elder-care burden, and cope with the financial impact. The support family members provide in the aftermath of an injury runs the gamut and yet is seldom formally acknowledged by compensation systems in policy or procedure. This is according to a study conducted in Australia by an IWH scientist while she was there on sabbatical.

Read about the study in At Work

Five reasons why mental illness claims are so challenging for benefit administrators

Benefit claims for mental illness are a challenge for income support program administrators. How to prove the illness and verify its duration are just some of the difficulties identified by Dr. Ashley McAllister in her study on policy design. McAllister, a post-doctoral fellow at Sweden’s Karolinksa Institute, recently shared her findings at a plenary hosted by IWH, where she was a visiting researcher. Read the highlights of that presentation in a new At Work article.

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National conference on disability and work to be held November 27-29 in Ottawa

Save the date! Look back at the progress made in opening the world of work to people with disabilities and injured workers. Identify current challenges and opportunities and develop a vision and strategy for the future. On November 27-29, join advocates, employer and labour stakeholders, researchers and policy-makers at the National Conference on Disability and Work in Canada, to be held at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. This conference is hosted by the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (an IWH project), in collaboration with the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups, and InclusionNL.

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Health-care providers face workers’ compensation challenges when dealing with complex injuries: IWH study

Most health-care providers, when treating acute and visible injuries, find the workers’ compensation system and return-to-work process relatively straightforward. But when treating patients with gradual onset, invisible or complex conditions, the challenges can be many. A new study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) examines the challenges from the perspectives of health-care providers and case managers in four provinces. Dr. Agnieszka Kosny shared the findings at a recent plenary and in an At Work article, now online.

Read the At Work article