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

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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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
Illustration of a worker at home, watching online conference

Accommodating episodic disabilities—a Lancaster House audio conference featuring Dr. Monique Gignac

What are the most common challenges in accommodating workers with episodic disabilities? How should key communication challenges be dealt with? What types of accommodations are generally helpful to workers with episodic disabilities? These are just some of the questions examined at a May 14 audio conference hosted by The Lancaster House, featuring Institute for Work & Health Scientific Co-Director and Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac and several leading labour lawyers.

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