Ontario Life After Work Injury Study: Understanding the long-term recovery and labour market outcomes of injured workers in Ontario
Reasons for the study
What are the long-term outcomes for people with work-related injuries or illnesses after they are no longer engaged with Ontario's workers’ compensation system? This study aims to find out.
This study is comparing health and labour market outcomes 18 months following a work-related injury or illness among three groups of workers' compensation claimants: those with a relatively quick resolution of their claim, those whose claim took a longer time to resolve, and those with prolonged claim activity. It is then comparing the health and labour market outcomes of the three groups of workers’ compensation lost-time claimants to two similar groups of injured workers (a historic one from Ontario and a newer one from another jurisdiction), as well as to a group of Ontario workers with similar occupational and demographic characteristics who have not recently experienced a work-related injury or illness.
Ultimately, the study will identify factors associated with positive and negative labour market and health recovery outcomes, and determine if particular groups of workers are at most risk for poor labour market and health recovery outcomes.
Objectives of the study
- To design and pilot test an interviewer-administered questionnaire to collect information about the following: (1) return-to-work (RTW) and labour market status; (2) sources of income; (3) function, recovery and other health outcomes; (4) perceptions of the fairness of the claim and RTW process; (5) interactions between claimants, their workplaces and their healthcare providers; and (6) basic socio-demographic characteristics and pre-injury information on occupation, earnings, industry and workplace size.
- To recruit three groups of 400 lost-time claim beneficiaries to participate in an interviewer-administered survey, then linking survey responses to WSIB administrative records
- To identify the modifiable and non-modifiable factors that are associated with poor health and recovery outcomes at 18 months and that are associated with better or worse labour market outcomes at 18 months
This OLAWIS cohort is also being used to conduct other studies related to long-term recovery and return-to-work outcomes. For information on a study looking at the use and role of cannabis in long-term recovery, go to this project page. For information on a study looking at outcomes among people recovering and returning to work in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, go to this project page.
The Ontario Life After Work Injury Study will provide findings relevant to the design and administration of workers' compensation claimant services and, therefore, will be of interest to representatives of injured workers and administrators of work disability insurance programs in Canada.
Related scientific publications
- Dobson K, Mustard C, Carnide N, Furlan AD, Smith PM. Impact of persistent pain symptoms on work absence, health status and employment 18 months following disabling work-related injury or illness. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2022;79(10):697-705. doi:10.1136/oemed-2022-108383. (Open access)
- Mustard C, Nadalin V, Carnide N, Tompa E, Smith PM. Cohort profile: the Ontario Life After Workplace Injury Study (OLAWIS). BMJ Open. 2021;11(9):e048143. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-048143. (Open access)
- Orchard C, Carnide N, Smith PM, Mustard C. The association between case manager interactions and serious mental illness following a physical workplace injury or illness: a cross-sectional analysis of workers' compensation claimants Ontario. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2021;31(4):895-902. doi:10.1007/s10926-021-09974-7.
Related interviews and articles
- Study finds long-term pain an issue for many injured workers. Safety+Health. November 14, 2022. Available from: https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/23236-study-finds-long-term-pain-an-issue-for-many-injured-workers
- 7 in 10 injured workers still experience pain 18 months later. Canadian HR Reporter. November 9, 2022. Available from: https://www.hrreporter.com/focus-areas/employment-law/7-in-10-injured-workers-still-experience-pain-18-months-later/371355
- IWH study finds 7 in 10 injured workers still experience pain more than a year after injury. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 110, Fall 2022.
- Poor interactions with case managers linked with risk of mental illness later on. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 107, Winter 2022.
- Study probes factors behind poorer health, lower employment in injured workers’ post-claim experience. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 106, Fall 2021.
IWH Speaker Series presentations
- Persistent pain: its role in work absence, health, and employment after a disabling work-related injury . IWH Speaker Series. November 15, 2022.
- Ontario Life After Workplace Injury Study: What we've learned so far. IWH Speaker Series. February 2, 2021.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario