WSIB work reintegration program improves outcomes, lowers costs

About impact case studies

This impact case study is part of a series that illustrates the diffusion, uptake and outcomes of Institute for Work & Health research, based upon our research impact model. The model differentiates three types of impact:
Type 1: Evidence of diffusion of research
Type 2: Evidence of research informing decision-making at the policy or organizational level
Type 3: Evidence of societal impact

This is a Type 3 case study

Published: December 2014

An earlier IWH impact case study noted that, in November 2010, Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) began to implement a new Work Reintegration Program to replace the Labour Market Re-entry (LMR), which was not working as intended. Research led by Institute for Work & Health (IWH) Scientist Dr. Ellen MacEachen  played an important role in shaping the new program.

Using qualitative research methods, MacEachen and her team described a number of problems with LMR. Judy Geary, the former vice-president of work reintegration at WSIB who retired from the WSIB in the summer of 2012, was a partner in the research and incorporated its findings into the design of the Work Reintegration Program. Geary noted that “the LMR study was instrumental in pointing us in the right directions for the new program."

In its report, 2012-2016 Strategic Plan: Measuring Results: Q1 2013, which focused on return-to-work and recovery outcomes, the WSIB noted that the Work Reintegration Program has resulted in better outcomes, lower costs and higher customer satisfaction levels. In the first two years of the new program, 69 per cent of workers who completed their program returned to work, compared to 36 per cent of workers in 2009 under LMR. As well, Work Reintegration Program costs in 2012 were $91 million—down $77 million from the $168 million it cost for LMR and related services in 2009. Finally, injured worker satisfaction rates with the new program increased to 85 per cent, up considerably from the 49 per cent of injured workers satisfied with LMR services.