Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED): A partnership to deliver workplace resources to sustain employment of people with chronic, episodic conditions
Reasons for the study
Episodic conditions, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's and colitis, depression and anxiety, are often unpredictable and invisible to others, with symptoms that fluctuate from one period in time to another. As such, they create unique challenges in managing workplace disabilities, particularly in implementing privacy and duty-to-accommodate policies. This study aims to enhance the work sustainability and support provided to Canadians with episodic mental and physical health conditions through the development of easily accessed, evidence-based tools, resources and training that protects privacy and facilitates communication and accommodation planning among workers, supervisors and other workplace parties.
Objectives of the study
- Consolidate and enhance existing evidence for toolkit development
- Develop new evidence-informed resources, including a communication decision-making tool; interactive job analysis and accommodation planning tool; and skills training workshops for supervisors and HR/disability managers
- Pilot test and evaluate the toolkit in diverse workplaces, including conducting cost analyses
- Expand the evidence base to include greater attention to sex/gender, age/life course, diverse employment contexts and episodic conditions
- Develop new researcher capacity in disability studies
- Build new workplace partners for testing and dissemination
This research is relevant to workers with chronic, episodic conditions, employers, human resources professionals, disability managers, occupational health professionals, insurers, government bodies, and community organizations focused on aging, employment, disability and/or caregiving. Its findings will be relevant to programs aimed at reducing at-work disability, improving work productivity and ensuring the employment sustainability of Canadian workers with episodic disabilities.
Related scientific publications
- Gignac MA, Jetha A, Martin Ginis KA, Ibrahim S. Does it matter what your reasons are when deciding to disclose (or not disclose) a disability at work? The association of workers' approach and avoidance goals with perceived positive and negative workplace outcomes. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2021 [epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1007/s10926-020-09956-1.
- Van Eerd D, Bowring J, Jetha A, Breslin FC, Gignac MA. Online resources supporting workers with chronic episodic disabilities: an environmental scan. International Journal of Workplace Health Management. 2020 [epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1108/IJWHM-08-2020-0137.
Related interviews and articles
- People’s reasons for disclosing episodic disabilities linked to support they receive. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 103, Winter 2021.
- Greater focus on episodic disabilities needed: Study. Canadian HR Reporter. August 25, 2020. Available from: https://www.hrreporter.com/focus-areas/compensation-and-benefits/greater-focus-on-episodic-disabilities-needed-study/332638
- Workplaces face many complex challenges when managing episodic disabilities: study. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 101, Summer 2020.
Related research summaries
- Employer perspectives on communication challenges when supporting episodic disabilities. Research Highlights: Institute for Work & Health, September 2020.
IWH Speaker Series presentations
- Does it matter what workers’ reasons are for disclosing or not disclosing a disability at work? Why and how?. IWH Speaker Series. November 24, 2020.
- Lancaster House audio conference: Accommodating episodic disabilities—the latest law and research. Other events. May 14, 2020.
- Challenges in accommodating mental and physical health conditions: What workplace parties are saying. IWH Speaker Series. June 12, 2018.
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Crohn's & Colitis Canada
- Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace
- Mindful Employer Canada
- Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
- Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
- Realize Canada
- The Arthritis Society
- University of Toronto
Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada Signature Initiative