Improving information on the incidence of work-related injuries and illnesses in Ontario

Reasons for the study

The December 2010 report of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety made a number of recommendations to the Ontario Ministry of Labour about improving the reliability and validity of data on the health of Ontario workers, both to improve the recognition of hazards in contemporary workplaces and to strengthen the measurement of the performance of the Ontario prevention system. This project aims to respond to these recommendations, by making use of population-based records of emergency department visits to improve the surveillance of work-related injury and illness in the province of Ontario, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable workers.

Objectives of the study

  • To evaluate emergency department records as a source of information for monitoring work-related injury and illness in Ontario
  • To conduct a formal record linkage of emergency department records for the treatment of work-related injury and illness and workers’ compensation claims over the period 2004-2014
  • To describe the characteristics of the approximately 55 per cent of emergency department records for the treatment of a work-related injury or illness that do not link to a workers’ compensation claim
  • To identify the factors associated with a divergence in emergency department records and workers' compensation data following the 2009 recession in Ontario; specifically, annual increases in emergency department visits for work-related conditions compared to annual declines in the registration of workers' compensation lost-time and no-lost-time claims
  • To improve our understanding of geographic differences in trends in the nature of injuries and illnesses
  • To learn more about the nature of workers' compensation claims that require medical care only (i.e. do not require wage-replacement benefits)

Anticipated results/impact

The Ontario Ministry of Labour and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board are expected to be primary users of the knowledge arising from this project. Other potentially interested stakeholders include policy-makers in other provincial workers’ compensation authorities, and representatives of organized labour and employer organizations in Ontario.

Project status

Ongoing

Research team

Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Aviroop Biswas, Institute for Work & Health
Victoria Landsman, Institute for Work & Health
Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health

Participating organizations

Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
Canadian Institute for Health Information

Funded by

Ontario Ministry of Labour Research Opportunities Program