New IWH tool helps workers with chronic conditions find job-tailored supports that allow them to keep working
March 7, 2023 (Toronto, Ont.) — A new evidence-based tool from the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) will help workers with chronic and often episodic health conditions continue to work safely, comfortably and productively in their jobs.
The Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool (JDAPT), being launched online on March 21, will allow workers with chronic conditions to learn about potential supports and accommodations specific to their job demands. Workers will then be able to implement them on their own or, if necessary, seek support from their employer, without necessarily having to disclose their health condition.
For workers with chronic health conditions, the fear of not being able to work during flare-ups or as they age often looms large, says IWH Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac, the director of the Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED) partnership project that developed the tool.
Yet, with the right supports and accommodations at work, many of these workers can continue in their jobs for many years. The JDAPT aims to help them do just that.
Chronic conditions include mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, Crohn’s disease, colitis, multiple sclerosis, migraine, rheumatic diseases like arthritis and lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, many musculoskeletal conditions such as low-back pain and tendinopathies, HIV/AIDs, as well as many forms of cancer and rare diseases. These conditions are often referred to as “episodic” because they tend to worsen, improve or fluctuate over time. According to a 2019 report from Statistics Canada, 3.8 million Canadians aged 15 and over have an episodic disability. Given the unpredictability of these conditions, and the fact that they are often invisible to others, they create unique challenges in managing workplace disabilities.
In May 2022, the ACED partnership took top price for its work on developing the JDAPT in the Inclusive Design Challenge: Support at Work, sponsored by MaRS Discovery District and CIBC. ACED is developing a number of tools to help workers and workplace parties overcome accommodating and communication challenges. The JDAPT for workers is the first of them. The tool is free, and available in both English and French. A JDAPT for employers to help them support workers with chronic conditions will be available in the summer of 2023.
Information about the online launch is available on the IWH website.
The JDAPT for workers is available on the ACED website.
To set up an interview with Dr. Monique Gignac, please contact:
Institute for Work & Health
About Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities
ACED is a partnership project led by a research team at the Institute for Work & Health, in collaboration with eight partners who support people living with chronic and episodic disabilities. The project is funded by the Healthy and Productive Work initiative, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). aced.iwh.on.ca
About the Institute for Work & Health
IWH is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that conducts and mobilizes research to support policy-makers, employers and workers in creating healthy, safe and inclusive work environments. The Institute provides practical and relevant findings and evidence-based products on the inter-relationships between work and health from worker, workplace and systems perspectives. iwh.on.ca