Document directory

Impact case study
When the WSIB decided to revisit the methods behind the Health and Safety Index, two IWH researchers provided advice on areas where the index could be improved. In October 2021, the HSI was revised, incorporating many of the suggestions provided by IWH.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Issue Briefing
Mustard C, Tompa E, Yanar B, Saunders R
Following a 2017 study to estimate occupational health and safety (OHS) expenditures by employers with 20 or more employees in Ontario, Canada, an Institute for Work & Health (IWH) team has set out to estimate the financial return on those OHS expenditures. This Issue Briefing shares findings from that follow-up study.
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Project report
Jetha A, Nasir K
Researchers at the Institute for Work & Health are looking for concrete ways to ensure youth and young adults with disabilities are included in the future of work. In the summer of 2021, a research team conducted an online survey with a wide range of people across Canada. This report summarizes six key areas in the future of work that survey participants indicated could both pose difficulties and offer opportunities to young people with disabilities. The report also presents the solutions that participants suggested to address the barriers and take advantage of the opportunities.
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Project report
Tompa E, Samosh D, Johnston H, Irvin E, Gewurtz R, Padkapayeva K, Moser C
This report provides evidence-based insights for policy-makers on the design and administration of funding programs for employment services for persons with disabilities that promote gainful and, ideally, sustainable paid employment opportunities.
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Impact case study
Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board made a modified version of an Institute safety culture tool called the IWH-OPM available to firms as a voluntary component of participating in its Health and Safety Excellence Program.
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Research Highlights
It can be challenging to tackle long-standing musculoskeletal hazards in busy, high turnover settings such as long-term care homes. Despite this, an IWH study finds a participatory approach—one that involves frontline workers—can be successfully implemented and sustained.
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Research Highlights
In a survey of workers with depression and those who manage them, nearly one out of four said no supports were available. Asked about the most helpful type of support, survey respondents with lived experience of depression most often indicated employee assistance programs (EAPs) and other supports external to the workplace. As for barriers to implementing practices, participants noted unsupportive managers, lack of knowledge about mental health in the workplace, and lack of training for managers.
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Annual Report
Taking Stock: The Institute for Work & Health's 2020/21 Annual report
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Infographic
Institute for Work & Health
How different is return to work for people with work-related psychological injuries compared to those with work-related musculoskeletal conditions? To answer this question, researchers at the Institute for Work & Health and Monash University followed 869 injured workers in Victoria, Australia for 12 months. This infographic highlights key findings from the study.
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Research Highlights
If Canada were a fully accessible and inclusive society, the economic benefits would amount to about $337.7 billion in calendar year 2017. This amount is equal to about 17.6 per cent of the gross domestic product in that year.
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Miscellaneous
This handout highlights Institute research exploring and evaluating workplace and policy-level interventions to address longstanding occupational health and safety (OHS) challenges in high-hazard sectors.
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Miscellaneous
This handout highlights Institute research focused on the ways work and the labour force are changing and the implications
for worker health and safety.
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Miscellaneous
This handout provides a shortcut to selected IWH resources focused on strengthening safety culture and advancing a culture of prevention.
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Project report
Robson LS, Irvin E, Padkapayeva K, Begum M, Zukowski M
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a shift away from in-person classroom delivery of training, towards synchronous online learning formats. Training in occupational health and safety (OHS) has been included in that shift. To help provide the research evidence on the effectiveness of synchronous online learning for OHS training, the Institute for Work & Health undertook two rapid reviews. The reviews were guided by the question: What is the effectiveness of synchronous online learning for occupational purposes, compared to face-to-face learning or other e-learning?
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Issue Briefing
In early 2021, a group of researchers led by IWH President Dr. Cameron Mustard asked authorities responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS) in developed countries how they had, to date, addressed the COVID-19 challenge. This Issue Briefing shares what the researchers learned.
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KTE resources
Moser C
In May 2021, the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) conducted a survey of subscribers to its communications products to gauge the level of trust in, and use of, IWH research and information. This report shares the survey's findings.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Accomplishments Report
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Issue Briefing
The Institute for Work & Health collaborated with Prism Economics and Analysis to conduct a study for WorkSafeBC on claim suppression in British Columbia. This Issue Briefing summarizes the findings of this study and compares them with the findings of previous Institute studies on claim suppression in Manitoba and Ontario, as well as with the findings of other research in Canada.
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Project report
Jetha A, Shamaee A
D’ici deux décennies, le monde du travail au Canada et dans les autres pays industrialisés sera fort différent de ce qu’il est aujourd’hui. Une équipe de recherche basée à l’Institut de recherche sur le travail et la santé a entamé un projet qui vise à aider la préparation des jeunes personnes handicapées pour le monde du travail de l’avenir. Le rapport provenant de ce projet décrit neuf tendances susceptibles de modeler l’avenir du travail et leur incidence pour les travailleurs vulnérables.
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Research Highlights
Workers in sedentary jobs who meet physical activity guidelines of at least 150 minutes a week have a 37 per cent lower chance of developing diabetes over 15 years, compared to people in the same types of jobs but who do less exercise. Meeting physical activity guidelines is less beneficial for people whose jobs involve movement or high physical demands (such as lifting heavy loads).
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Project report
Jetha A, Shamaee A
In 2020, an Institute for Work & Health research team, using a method from the field of strategic foresight called horizon scanning, began exploring what the future may hold for workers, especially those in vulnerable conditions. Its findings are included in this report, which identifies nine future trends that may have a particular impact on vulnerable workers—both positive and negative.
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Project report
Mustard C, Smith PM, Landsman V
This research study had the broad purpose of evaluating records of emergency department visits as a source of information for monitoring work-related injury and illness in Ontario. The primary objective of the study was 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 2004-2017. The main interest of this study is to describe the characteristics of the approximately 50,000 annual emergency department records for the treatment of a work-related injury or illness that do not link to a workers’ compensation claim.
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Tools and guides
This resource, developed with partners in Newfoundland and Labrador, provides research and practice evidence on musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) prevention practices and programs for workplaces to consider and implement. The resource describes the evidence in three main sections: awareness, training, and hazard identification and solutions.
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Research Highlights
Workers with disabilities are no more likely than those without to work in precarious jobs. However, some subsets of people with disabilities are more likely to work in precarious jobs—older people or people with shorter job tenure. Contrary to expectation, younger people with disabilities are not more likely than older people with disabilities to have precarious jobs. Among people with and without disabilities, having better health is linked to a lower likelihood of working in precarious jobs.
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Issue Briefing
As the incidence of diagnosed cases escalates in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, it is important to understand the degree to which employment in the essential service sectors represents an increased risk of infection. This Issue Briefing examines what the available data says about the role of workplaces in COVID-19 transmission in Ontario, the relative contribution of workplace outbreaks to case numbers, and current information gaps at the population level.
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Project report
Robson LS, Landsman V, Latour-Villamil D, Lee H, Mustard C
IWH updated a previous study on the union safety effect in Ontario's industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector. Like the first study, the update found unionization was associated with a lower risk of injuries requiring time away from work, including both musculoskeletal and critical (more severe) injuries.
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Project report
Saunders R, O'Grady J, Cardoso S
The Institute of Work & Health collaborated with Prism Economics and Analysis on a study, funded by WorkSafeBC, to estimate the nature and extent of claim suppression in the workers’ compensation system of British Columbia.
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Annual Report
Disrupted: The Institute for Work & Health's 2019/20 Annual report
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Tools and guides
This interactive tool is designed for youth and young adults with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis or lupus as they begin their working lives. It is designed to help them identify and address the unique challenges they may face when looking for work, already working or unable to work due to their health condition.

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Infographic
Institute for Work & Health
From 2018 to 2021, the Institute for Work & Health is conducting a yearly survey of Canadian workers about cannabis. The aim is to understand how the legalization of non-medical cannabis is affecting workers’ cannabis use and beliefs about use. This infographic highlights some of what we learned in our first comparison of pre- and post-legalization findings, based on the first and second surveys.
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Research Highlights
About 13 per cent of working-age people in the U.S. who have arthritis also experience depressive symptoms. Having both arthritis and depressive symptoms lowers the likelihood of working. For people aged 35 to 54, having depressive symptoms in addition to arthritis lowers the likelihood of working by 17 per cent.
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Research Highlights
The introduction of a mandatory training standard for construction workers using fall protection equipment is associated with a 19.6 per cent reduction in the incidence rate of lost-time claims due to falls targeted by the intervention. This decline is larger than an overall decline in injuries in the sector during the same time frame. Reductions in incidence rates are also largest among the smallest employers.
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Research Highlights
Supporting people with episodic health conditions can be challenging from organizational perspectives. The challenges stem from the need to provide accommodation and support while respecting workers’ right to privacy, and to respond to unpredictable periods of disability while ensuring work units meet productivity demands.
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Accomplishments Report
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Research Highlights
People who live in more remote areas have more disability days following a work-related injury than people who live in large cities. However, there are exceptions to that pattern. Disability days are highest in the most remote rural areas. But they're second highest in the least remote rural areas, where at least 30 per cent of workers commute to an urban centre.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Sharing Best Evidence
A systematic review by the Institute for Work & Health finds strong and moderate evidence that work exposures—including lifting, cumulative physical loads, full-body vibration and kneeling/squatting/bending—can increase the risks of osteoarthritis in men and women. No increased risk was found for sitting, standing and walking (hip and knee osteoarthritis); lifting and carrying (knee osteoarthritis); climbing ladders (knee osteoarthritis); driving (knee osteoarthritis); and highly repetitive tasks (hand osteoarthritis).
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Project report
Van Eerd D, Irvin E, Le Pouésard M, Butt A, Nasir K
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Research Highlights
Over a 12-year-period, Canadians whose jobs became more physically or mentally demanding became slightly less likely to exercise more. They were also slightly less likely to exercise more when working long hours or working in jobs that offered them little say in how to use their skills.
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Research Highlights
Among workers with a compensation claim for a work-related musculoskeletal injury, 30 per cent also experience a serious mental condition. However, a minority of these workers receive treatment for their mental health conditions, according to an IWH study conducted in Australia.
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Research Highlights
Ride-share drivers face physical and mental health risks that are not only similar to, but also distinct from, those of taxi drivers. Beyond the risks experienced by taxi drivers, ride-share drivers face stressors unique to this form of work.
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Research Highlights
Communication barriers between health-care providers and case managers appear to stem from differences in communication styles, professional priorities and philosophical perspectives about the timing and appropriateness of return to work. Barriers exist even among practitioners of different health disciplines.
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Miscellaneous
Institute for Work & Health
The Institute’s full set of policies and practices with respect to protecting the privacy of individuals and the confidentiality of personal information are set out in this handbook, revised in March 2020.
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Activity Plan
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Sharing Best Evidence
This update of a previous systematic review sets out to find workplace-based interventions that are effective in helping workers with musculoskeletal, pain-related and/or mental health conditions return to work.
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Annual Report
What Research Can Do: The Institute for Work & Health's 2018/19 Annual Report
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Tools and guides
This toolkit contains everything needed to deliver instructional sessions to newcomers in Ontario on their occupational health and safety (OHS) and workers' compensation rights and responsibilities.
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Impact case study
IWH senior scientists presented expert testimony to a federal standing committee looking at the needs of people with episodic disabilities—an example of how research can support policy-makers in addressing important societal issues.
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