TIE-C-MI: Trajectories of Income and Employment of Canadians with Mental Illness

Reasons for the study

Mental illnesses and substance use disorders increase the risk of earning lower wages, becoming unemployed, and depending on income assistance programs. At the same time, poor employment and low-income levels may impact or exacerbate a mental illness and the ability to access treatment.

In Canada, we know little about what employment and income look like over time for Canadians with mental health and substance use disorders. This information is a necessary first step to identifying the most appropriate time to implement health- and labour-related interventions to retain these Canadians in the workforce. The goal of this project is to understand the employment and income experiences of Canadians with mental and substance use disorders during their prime working years.

Objectives of the study

  • Uncover the trajectories of employment and income among Canadian males and females between the ages of 18 to 64 who experience a common mental disorder (e.g. anxiety disorder, depressive disorder), severe mental disorder (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), eating disorder, substance use disorder or multiple disorders
  • Determine which sociodemographic and health factors most strongly influence trajectory membership for each mental disorder group
  • Compare these trajectories to those of working-aged Canadians who do not experience mental or substance use disorders

Target audience

The findings from this research will be useful to labour and health policy-makers, health-care organizations, unions and insurance providers.

Related interviews and articles

Project status


Research team

  • Kathleen Dobson, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Monique Gignac, Institute for Work & Health
  • Simon Vigod, Women's College Hospital
  • Claire de Oliveira, Centre for Mental Health and Addiction
  • Mark Ferro, University of Waterloo
  • Rubab Arim, Statistics Canada

Collaborators and partners

Mindset Mental Health Strategy
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
Statistics Canada

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)