Plain-language summaries

Institute for Work & Health (IWH) plain-language summaries condense research findings in various formats. At Work articles explain study results with comments from the study leads. Research Highlights summarize journal articles in easy-to-read, digest formats. Sharing Best Evidence summaries highlight findings from systematic reviews and other types of reviews conducted or led by IWH researchers. Issue Briefings discuss key research findings from IWH or elsewhere on topics that are of particular interest to policy-makers.

A graphic of two women surrounded by superimposed graphical data and screens. One wears virtual reality goggles and the other holds a laptop computer.
At Work article

Top-ranked strategies to support young persons with disabilities in the future of work

IWH researchers asked persons with disabilities, practitioners and subject matter experts about strategies for disability inclusion in the face of six future of work challenges, such as advancing technologies, climate change and artificial intelligence. A new report details their top-ranked strategies for each challenge that can help to foster inclusion in the labour market and the workplace.
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Blocks with icons of people are laid out with lines drawn between them to indicate connection
At Work article

IWH brings together new network to share research and exchange knowledge

In its newest avenue for stakeholder engagement, IWH recently held the inaugural IWH Connects meeting. This event, held in person in Toronto, hosted a new network of 40 workplace parties, policy-makers and health, safety and wellness practitioners. These stakeholders were brought together to learn about high-priority work and health research and discuss its implications for practice and policy.
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Image of panel members from the March 2024 Opioids and Work workshop hosted by OCRC and IWH
At Work article

Exploring how workplace solutions can mitigate opioid harms among workers

With the recognition that workplaces can play a part in responding to North America’s opioid crisis, the OCRC and IWH brought together over 100 occupational health specialists, government representatives, union advocates, researchers, and others to discuss how to prevent opioid harms among workers. Presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions provided a lot of food for thought about the way forward.
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A man with his head in his hand looks at a row of empty pill bottles
Research Highlights

Formerly injured workers have higher risk of opioid-related harms than the general population in Ontario

An IWH study examined how opioid harms in a large group of formerly injured Ontario workers compared to harms in the general Ontario population. They found that the formerly injured workers had higher risks of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for opioid-related harms. This pattern was seen across most occupations and industries within this group of workers.
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A seated woman with a clipboard in-hand speaks to a female client
Research Highlights

How do employment support programs impact the health of young adults with episodic disabilities?

The unpredictable and often invisible nature of episodic disabilities can make it challenging for workers to find and sustain employment while managing their fluctuating symptoms and work demands. For young adults navigating early career phases, these challenges may also have life-long impacts on their career progression and health. Researchers on an IWH study set out to investigate whether employment support programs for young adults with episodic disabilities may also impact their health.
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Two workers wearing masks look at a tablet together
At Work article

What can work-related COVID-19 cases tell us about how to prepare for the next pandemic?

To what extent did workplace exposures account for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus during the first two years of the pandemic? A new study by IWH combined data sources to estimate work-related infection rates, using a method that took into account major shifts in where people worked. It found the role of work exposure changed from wave to wave, in a dynamic pattern not in keeping with the number of cases in the general population.
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A series of blocks stacked together with icons representing various workplace benefits
At Work article

Lesbian, gay and bisexual workers in Canada more likely than straight workers to report low quality, precarious jobs

Drawing on a survey of Canadian workers, a recent study found that lesbian, gay and bisexual workers reported lower job quality than their straight counterparts. That’s according to a study co-led by an IWH researcher and IWH Syme award recipient, the most comprehensive study to date of job quality among sexual minority workers.
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A young man working on a laptop as a female instructor guides him
At Work article

How job training can better meet the needs of persons with disabilities

Job training initiatives are an important gateway to work opportunities, especially for persons living with disabilities who face persistent barriers to employment. However, as technological advances lead to changes in the nature and availability of work, training programs need to be more responsive to the diverse needs of persons with disabilities.
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A residential home in mid-build is surrounded by scaffolding
At Work article

Safer work practices, lower injury rates maintained two years after Ontario’s working-at-heights training came into effect: study

Lower rates of injuries from falls from heights found in follow-up study comparing different provinces and different injury types
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A man speaks with a female doctor in scrubs who holds a clipboard
Research Highlights

Workers are using cannabis to treat work-related conditions, mostly without medical guidance

While cannabis is often used recreationally, there is growing interest in its use for therapeutic purposes, such as for pain, anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Some workers are using cannabis many months following the onset of a work-related condition, whether to treat their condition or for other reasons, mostly without medical guidance.
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A woman dressed in work attire looks out a window with her arms folded.
At Work article

What is the impact of depression on years of employment among working-age adults?

IWH study describes five patterns of depressive symptoms over adulthood and the influence of depression on work participation
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A police officer with their back turned faces a group of people walking around.
At Work article

Police service members face challenges with accommodation, communication and trust when returning to work after an injury

Recent study identifies return-to-work challenges for sworn and civilian Ontario police service members
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A group of physician's sitting in a room, prepared to take notes.
Research Highlights

Primary care physicians’ learning needs in returning ill or injured workers to work

While primary care physicians play an important role in helping ill and injured workers return to work (RTW), they have a variety of learning needs about how to best navigate the RTW process. These needs fall in the areas of completing administrative tasks, challenging personal beliefs, understanding specific RTW issues and learning about available RTW services and tools.
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A graphic depicting a crowd of people
Sharing Best Evidence

Racial and ethnic inequities in the return-to-work process

In the first systematic review on the subject, IWH examined the research literature on racial and ethnic inequities in return to work. It found strong evidence that non-white workers are less likely than white workers to return to work following an injury or illness—and moderate evidence that Black workers face pronounced barriers.
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Overhead image of fast-moving pedestrians using a crosswalk to cross a road.
Research Highlights

Associations between physical activity patterns and cardiometabolic health in Canadian working adults

According to an IWH study, Canadian workers typically fall into six patterns of daily movement. These six patterns are associated with varying levels of cardiometabolic disease risk. In general, workers with higher daily activity levels had lower levels of cardiometabolic disease risk factors, but those with moderate activity also showed lower risk factors.
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Drawing of a Black youth looking at the Employee of the Month board, which features pictures of robots.
At Work article

Three future of work scenarios to help develop inclusion strategies for young people with disabilities

IWH report uses strategic foresight to imagine how working life could change in the next seven years, and what the implications might be for young adults with disabilities
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A computer technician who uses a wheelchair works at his station
At Work article

Canadians with disabilities twice as likely to report low quality employment than those without disabilities

National survey by IWH researcher identifies gaps in employment quality for persons with and without disabilities.
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A group of young adults look into the camera
At Work article

One in four young adults in the U.S. have poor mental health—and the lowest earnings among their peers

Study by IWH researcher maps mental health and earnings trajectories, from participants’ mid-teens to mid-30s
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Overhead view of two people in safety helmets walking up the stairs in a plant
At Work article

IWH tool comes out ahead in Australian study of OHS leading indicator tools

The Institute’s OHS Vulnerability Measure was one of two tools recommended by Monash University evaluation team for use by state workers’ compensation board
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Two male workers assemble vegetable crates in a warehouse
At Work article

Employers struggle to provide newcomers with OHS training, support: IWH study

Smaller workplaces especially challenged by need for training resources in different languages and by limited OHS capacity, study finds
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