Working conditions and health

What are the effects of work, workplace and labour force conditions on the health and safety of workers and other members of society? Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research in this area seeks to understand the context in which government, sector-based and workplace injury and disability prevention programs operate. This research explores known and emerging injuries, diseases and disorders that are related to job, workplace and/or labour market conditions. It looks at the scope, potential causes and risk factors for these injuries and illnesses, as well as their effect on workers, workplaces, regulators and society as a whole.

Latest news and findings

Image of infographic on cannabis use and the Canadian workplace before legalization

What were Canadian workers thinking about cannabis use before legalization?

One year ago today, non-medical cannabis was legalized in Canada. Four months before legalization, researchers from the Institute for Work & Health surveyed workers across Canada to find out about their use of, and beliefs about, cannabis at work. These researchers are surveying this same group of workers (and more) for three years post-legalization to find out if their use and beliefs are changing. Some of the findings from the pre-legalization survey are now available in an infographic.

Download the infographic
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IWH Speaker Series presentation: Trends in depression and anxiety among Canadian labour market participants (2000-2016)

Despite much effort aimed at improving the mental health of Canadians, we still know little about the prevalence of two common mental health conditions across the working population. In an October 22 IWH Speaker Series presentation, Institute Research Associate Kathleen Dobson shares her doctoral research exploring trends in depression and anxiety disorders among working-age Canadians, from 2000 to 2016.

Sign up for the presentation
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Link between “newness” and higher injury risk confirmed by systematic review

Workers new to a job, regardless of their age, face higher risks of injury. This workplace health and safety message is based on several studies—including some by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH)—and it has spread far and wide. However, it was only recently that a systematic review on newness and injury risk was carried out. The review, conducted by IWH, confirms a link between newness and the risk of acute injuries—but is inconclusive on the link between newness and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Read about the review
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Psychosocial work conditions linked with both positive and negative mental health outcomes, study finds

Better psychosocial work conditions—greater job control, social support and job security—are linked with workers having reduced risks of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. But a new study by IWH suggests they’re also linked with a greater likelihood of workers having flourishing mental health. Indeed, psychosocial work factors have a stronger link to positive mental well-being than to the likelihood of poor mental health.

Get the study highlights
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World Congress 2020, a global forum on emerging OHS issues, coming to Toronto

Occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals, get ready to take a break from the day-to-day issues and take in the big picture. In a little over a year, the most forward-thinking OHS policy-makers and practitioners from around the globe will gather in Toronto for the XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. With the theme "Prevention in the Connected Age," the October 4-7, 2020, event will be your chance to hear and share ideas about the OHS challenges and innovations coming over the horizon.  

Find out more