What's new

An out-of-frame doctor talks to someone on a laptop screen
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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.

A woman in a wheelchair works from her home office
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Disability and Work in Canada conference videos are now available

The devastating impact of COVID-19 on employment for people with disabilities was a major theme at the annual Disability and Work in Canada conference, held late last year. But participants also heard about ongoing initiatives on strengthening income support, promoting workplace inclusion, measuring progress—and many others that make up a pan-Canadian strategy to improve paid employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Conference videos are now available at the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy conference page

Two women sharing a confidence at work
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Why people decide to disclose an episodic disability at work—and how that matters

Some of the most common chronic health conditions are episodic and invisible. As a result, people living with them often grapple with the complex decision of whether to tell their employers about their disability. A new study, led by IWH Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac, looks at people’s reasons for disclosing or not. The findings shed light on how people’s reasons matter to the work support they subsequently receive.

Illustration taken from the tool
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Working with a rheumatic disease: a new tool for young people

Young people with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis or lupus face unique challenges as they begin their working lives. A new tool is now available to help them navigate these challenges. "Working with a rheumatic disease" is an interactive tool designed to help young people identify potential challenges and find information and trusted resources to overcome them. It was developed by the Institute for Work & Health with support from Cassie + Friends and funding from the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy.

Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress
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Depressive symptoms and arthritis linked to higher chance of work disability

Research has shown that people with arthritis face difficulties finding work and staying at work. Now, a new study finds that the risks of work disability are even greater for people with arthritis and depressive symptoms—people who account for one in eight working-age adults in the U.S. The IWH study, based on a nationally representative U.S. survey, has been published in Arthritis Care and Research

Disability and Work in Canada conference logo
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Call for proposals: Disability and Work in Canada 2020 Virtual Conference

The Disability and Work in Canada 2020 (DWC 2020) Conference will be held virtually this year over four days in late November and early December. Organizers are accepting proposals for different types of sessions from the disability community, businesses, unions, policy-makers, service providers and other interested parties. The call is open until Friday, September 25. 

A blurry image of people at work
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Episodic health conditions challenge workplace disability management systems

Employers are recognizing that they need a new model of disability management to support workers with episodic health conditions, according to a new Institute for Work & Health study. These conditions, which are characterized by periods of good health interrupted by unpredictable periods of illness and disability, can raise a host of issues for workplaces—including issues related to privacy, stigma and trust.

A vista of a small town in British Columbia
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Urban-rural differences in work disability days not always as expected

We know from past studies that injured workers in rural areas are likely to be off work longer than injured workers in cities. Now, a study involving IWH scientists takes a closer look at urban-rural differences in work disability across several provinces and industrial sectors. It finds a more nuanced picture, one in which injured workers in the more rural areas are not necessarily the ones with the longest disability durations.

Illustration of a worker at home, watching online conference
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Accommodating episodic disabilities—a Lancaster House audio conference featuring Dr. Monique Gignac

What are the most common challenges in accommodating workers with episodic disabilities? How should key communication challenges be dealt with? What types of accommodations are generally helpful to workers with episodic disabilities? These are just some of the questions examined at a May 14 audio conference hosted by The Lancaster House, featuring Institute for Work & Health Scientific Co-Director and Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac and several leading labour lawyers.

A paramedic wearing a face mask stands next to two ambulances
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COVID-19 concerns greater for workers with health conditions

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many in Canada’s workforce worried about their health and finances. Those worries are even greater for workers living with an underlying and invisible chronic health condition. In the planning of health and safety responses to COVID-19 and the ultimate reopening of workplaces, employers should be aware of the unique needs of this potentially vulnerable group of workers, writes IWH Scientist Dr. Arif Jetha in The Conversation.