Self-reported work conditions in Canada: examining changes between 2002 and 2012

Publication type
Journal article
Fan J Smith PM
Date published
2018 Jul 01
Canadian Journal of Public Health
[Epub ahead of print]
Open Access?

OBJECTIVES: To examine changes in self-reported work conditions over a 10-year time period in Canada, as measured using two comparable cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2002 and 2012. METHODS: Population-based data were obtained from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Work conditions (psychosocial work conditions, work hours, work demands, job satisfaction) were measured using the same modules across survey cycles. Regression models provided estimates for trends in work conditions, adjusting for differences in socio-demographic and survey administration characteristics over time. RESULTS: We observed changes in self-reported work conditions across cycles, including higher levels of co-worker/supervisor support and job security; lower levels of psychological demands; and increases in shorter/regular work hours over time. These findings were consistent in both the base and adjusted models. Although skill discretion, decision authority, and job satisfaction improved over time in our base models, these findings were attenuated towards the null in adjusted models. Respondents in 2012 had a greater odds of reporting a physically demanding work environment compared to 2002. Differential time trends were observed by geographic region. CONCLUSIONS: Our study found improvements in some self-reported measures of the psychosocial work environment in Canada over time. These changes were not accounted for by socio-demographic or survey administration differences across survey cycles. Despite these overall trends, absolute levels of some work conditions have not changed. Given the relevance of work conditions as a determinant of health, a continued focus on improving all aspects of the work environment should remain a public health priority to improve the health of working-aged Canadians