Return to work in policing: synthesizing current practices and implementation guidance

Reasons for the study

A police officer's return to work (RTW) after a physical or psychological work-related injury can be challenging—for the returning officer, work colleagues, police service and workers' compensation system involved. Although the scientific evidence on effective workplace-based RTW interventions is growing, we still know little about what RTW interventions in particular are effective for first responders, including police officers. This study aims to help fill this gap by identifying effective workplace-based practices in this sector based on the best available research evidence, as well as the experiences of police service supervisors and members.

Objectives of the study

  • Describe and synthesize the best available research evidence on, and current practices in, return to work in police services.
  • Conduct interviews with sworn and civilian supervisors and members of Ontario police services who have experience with return to work to gather detailed information about current RTW practices.
  • Describe the facilitators and barriers to implementing RTW programs and practices in police forces.

Target audience

The project is expected to culminate in a practical, evidence-informed guide to support the implementation of effective RTW programs in police services. The project's findings, as well as the guide, will help police services, especially in Ontario, assess and improve their current RTW programs. It will also help the province's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board target their supports for police officers in the workers' compensation system.

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Project status


Research team

Collaborators and partners

Public Services Health & Safety Association

Funded by

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario