Document directory

Issue Briefing
Saunders R, O'Grady J, Cardoso S
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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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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Infographic
Institute for Work & Health
From 2018 to 2021, the Institute for Work & Health is conducting a yearly survey of Canadian workers about cannabis to understand how the legalization of non-medical cannabis in October 2018 is affecting workers’ cannabis use, and affecting the beliefs of both users and non-users about cannabis use at work. The first survey was conducted in June 2018, before the legalization of non-medical cannabis four months later. This infographic shares some of what was learned.
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Research Highlights
Workers with arthritis and diabetes, despite their health difficulties, have similar retirement plans as their healthy peers. Yet workers with chronic conditions are more likely than their healthy peers to report having retired previously and returned to work, often in part-time positions.
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Research Highlights
Workplace health and safety leaders use benchmarking reports on health and safety performance to help inform decision-making and improve occupational health and safety performance. That's according to an interview-based study of OHS leaders who took part in an IWH leading indicators research project.
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Accomplishments Report
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Research Highlights
People who work or have worked in physically demanding jobs are about twice as likely as people whose jobs are not physically demanding to be heavy smokers. Workers in jobs with low social support, low skill discretion and high psychological demands are also more likely than workers in healthier environments to be heavy smokers.
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Research Highlights
Most Ontario workplaces offer few wellness initiatives. The ones that offer a variety of wellness initiatives and have high-performing OHS programs tend to be large workplaces with people-oriented cultures.
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Research Highlights
Having positive mental health is not the same as having no mental illness. The two are related, but distinct, concepts. A study by IWH suggests that better psychosocial work conditions—greater job security, job control and social support—can have greater influence on one more than the other.
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Research Highlights
Women are much more likely than men to stop working, to work part time and to temporarily take time off work in order to care for an older relative. These differences are seen even after taking into account factors such as marital status, having children, hours of work, pay level, job tenure, and status as main wage earner in the household.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Tools and guides
This resource synthesizes the research evidence on the practical solutions that workplaces can implement (in conjunction with workers' compensation, insurance and health-care authorities) to support the return to work of employees with musculoskeletal disorders or mental health conditions.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Project report
Robson LS, Mustard C
The Institute for Work & Health shares the findings from its evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of a mandatory working-at-heights training program introduced in Ontario in 2015. Ontario employers were required to ensure that workers on construction projects who worked at heights had successfully completed the training by October 2017.
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Project report
Robson LS, Mustard C
This summary shares the highlights from an Institute for Work & Health evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of a mandatory working-at-heights training program introduced in Ontario in 2015. Ontario employers were required to ensure that workers on construction projects who worked at heights had successfully completed the training by October 2017.
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Activity Plan
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Impact case study
The findings of an Institute for Work & Health systematic review on the association between osteoarthritis and work are being used by WorkSafeBC's medical advisors, contributing to more consistency in claims adjudication.
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Impact case study
A tool designed to measure "two sides of the coin"—OHS systems and culture—developed by Workplace Safety North with IWH expertise, has been endorsed by Ontario's mining association, and now is in demand well beyond the province and the sector.
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Strategic Plan
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Annual Report
The Big Issues: The Institute for Work & Health's 2017 Annual Report
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Impact case study
An occupational medicine assessment service integrated two of the return-to-work supports (enhanced coordination and communication) outlined in IWH's evidence-based Seven Principles guide, contributing to a significant improvement in the duration of wage replacement benefits among injured workers with problematic musculoskeletal disorders.
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Impact case study
SAFE Work Manitoba incorporated IWH expertise and tools into the framework of its ambitious safety culture initiative, which aims to make workplace injury prevention a genuine priority among all segments of the population across the province.
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