What's new

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Announcing the Institute’s 2017/2018 Syme training fellows

Congratulations to three public health researchers who have been named recipients of IWH’s 2017/2018 S. Leonard Syme Training Fellowships in Work and Health. The fellowships were established in honour of Dr. Syme, a pioneer in the field of social epidemiology and chair of IWH’s Scientific Advisory Committee from 1995 to 2002. The three recipients and their research projects are:

  • Meghan Crouch, University of Waterloo—Mental health in the workplace;
  • Kimberly Sharpe, University of British Columbia—Regional variation in health care in five Canadian workers’ compensation systems and its relationship to return to work; and
  • Robert Shaw, University of British Columbia—Supporting employment for young adults with disabilities.
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A Q&A on what we know—and don’t know—about marijuana and workplace safety

The federal government says it’s committed to legislation making recreational cannabis legal by July 1, 2018. As that date approaches, many workplace parties are concerned about the implications for occupational health and safety (OHS). So what does the research to date say about marijuana use and OHS? Find out in a Q&A with two of our researchers. (Hint: There’s a lot we need to learn.)

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Standing too long at work linked to increased risk of heart disease

There has been a lot of interest in recent years in the health risks of prolonged sitting. However, a recent study by IWH and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences found the risk of heart disease is twice as high for people in jobs that mostly involve standing (e.g. cooks, tellers, cashiers) compared to those in jobs that involve mostly sitting. Read about the findings, and check out a sidebar that tackles some of the misconceptions out there about the study. (Here’s one: It’s not about standing desks.)

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IWH’s leading indicators helping Manitoba workplaces assess safety culture

The Institute for Work & Health (IWH)’s leading indicator tool—the popular Organizational Performance Metric (IWH-OPM)—has been adapted for use in Manitoba as part of a province-wide safety culture initiative. IWH Senior Scientist Dr. Ben Amick worked with SAFE Work Manitoba on many aspects of the initiative, including a definition of “safety culture” for the province, the development of a workplace-based safety culture assessment tool, and the development of frameworks for evaluating safety certification and safety culture in the province overall. The workplace-based tool, called the Safety Culture Assessment (SCA), is being offered to workplaces to help them understand and improve their safety culture. Moreover, it is also being incorporated into the province’s SAFE Work Certified program to assess whether safety certification helps improve a workplace’s safety and health management system in reducing the risk of injury and illness.

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Watch: IWH presentations at the 2017 Research & Policy Forum on Immigration, Work & Health

Are immigrants more vulnerable to workplace hazards than Canadian-born workers? What can we do to promote the safe integration of newcomers into the labour market? How do workers with limited English proficiency navigate the workers’ compensation system after an injury? Studies on these research questions were recently presented at the 2017 Research & Policy Forum on Immigration, Work & Health at Toronto’s city hall. Those lectures are now available as slidecasts.

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OHS Vulnerability Measure worker survey now available in French

IWH’s OHS Vulnerability Measure defines vulnerability to work-related injuries and illnesses as a combination of hazard exposure and insufficient protection due to inadequate policies and practices, low awareness of occupational health and safety (OHS) risks and/or lack of empowerment. Now, thanks to the support of WorkSafeNB, the 27-item worker health and safety survey at the heart of the tool is available in French—as is a new video about what the tool does.

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Update: Economic burden of work-related asbestos estimated at $2.35B

The economic burden of mesotheliomas and lung cancers due to work-related exposures to asbestos diagnosed during a one-year period is $2.35 billion in Canada. That’s according to an economic evaluation by IWH. The estimate, higher than previously reported, was recently published in an open-access article. A study update is available in At Work.

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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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How IWH is helping foreign-trained researchers get a foot in the door

The familiar plight of foreign-trained professionals not getting hired in Canada is not exclusive to doctors, nurses and engineers. Researchers and analysts from abroad also face similar hurdles. That’s why IWH has teamed up with Access Alliance and other organizations to create a pilot program. It’s aimed at providing foreign-trained researchers and analysts a paid opportunity to network, find mentors and gain Canadian work experience.