Workplace disability management

More and more Canadian workplaces are setting up accommodation and return-to-work (RTW) programs to help ensure employees with work-related and non-work-related injuries and illnesses are able to remain at work or return to work as quickly as they are safely able to do so. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) conducts extensive research into the workplace policies and procedures that most effectively help workers safely remain at and return to work, as well as system-level programs (e.g. those offered by workers’ compensation boards) that support workplaces in doing so. This research also explores life-course issues, work disability trajectories, RTW prognostic factors, and the scope and impact of chronic, episodic and other conditions that are not necessarily caused by work, but affect the ability of people to find and keep work.

Latest news and findings

Illustration taken from the tool

Working with a rheumatic disease: a new tool for young people

Young people with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis or lupus face unique challenges as they begin their working lives. A new tool is now available to help them navigate these challenges. "Working with a rheumatic disease" is an interactive tool designed to help young people identify potential challenges and find information and trusted resources to overcome them. It was developed by the Institute for Work & Health with support from Cassie + Friends and funding from the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy.

See the tool
Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress

Depressive symptoms and arthritis linked to higher chance of work disability

Research has shown that people with arthritis face difficulties finding work and staying at work. Now, a new study finds that the risks of work disability are even greater for people with arthritis and depressive symptoms—people who account for one in eight working-age adults in the U.S. The IWH study, based on a nationally representative U.S. survey, has been published in Arthritis Care and Research

Read the study summary
Disability and Work in Canada conference logo

Call for proposals: Disability and Work in Canada 2020 Virtual Conference

The Disability and Work in Canada 2020 (DWC 2020) Conference will be held virtually this year over four days in late November and early December. Organizers are accepting proposals for different types of sessions from the disability community, businesses, unions, policy-makers, service providers and other interested parties. The call is open until Friday, September 25. 

Find out more
A blurry image of people at work

Episodic health conditions challenge workplace disability management systems

Employers are recognizing that they need a new model of disability management to support workers with episodic health conditions, according to a new Institute for Work & Health study. These conditions, which are characterized by periods of good health interrupted by unpredictable periods of illness and disability, can raise a host of issues for workplaces—including issues related to privacy, stigma and trust.

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A vista of a small town in British Columbia

Urban-rural differences in work disability days not always as expected

We know from past studies that injured workers in rural areas are likely to be off work longer than injured workers in cities. Now, a study involving IWH scientists takes a closer look at urban-rural differences in work disability across several provinces and industrial sectors. It finds a more nuanced picture, one in which injured workers in the more rural areas are not necessarily the ones with the longest disability durations.

See the Research Highlights