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

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Study: Supervisors' first reaction to injury affects return-to-work outcomes

A supervisor’s supportive reaction to an injury—for example, by expressing empathy and reassurance instead of skepticism and blame—significantly increases the likelihood that the injured worker will successfully return to work. That’s according to a recent study conducted by a research team at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Australia’s Monash University. 

Read about the study in At Work
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Guide to support workers with depression now available to download

If someone you work with or supervise experiences depressionor if you have symptoms yourselfthere are ways to offer and seek support. Our new Evidence-informed guide to supporting people with depression in the workplace lays out tips and suggestions. It’s aimed at helping people with depression cope with symptoms while working or returning to work after an episode of depression. Users may include individuals with depression, managers, co-workers, human resources staff, union representatives and worker representatives. When it comes to supporting workers with depression, everyone can help.

Download the guide
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Now recruiting: managers who have accommodated workers with chronic diseases

We need your help. If you’re a manager or supervisor with experience accommodating employees with chronic physical or mental health conditions, we’d like to hear from you for a study on talking about workplace accommodation needs. Tell us about the challenges you faced supporting employees with chronic health conditions while also balancing privacy concerns. Your participation would consist of a confidential phone interview of about 30 to 40 minutes. If you’re interested, please email jbowring@iwh.on.ca or call 1-855-884-1416.

Find out more
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IWH economist provides business case for hiring workers with mental illness

A summary report released today the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), A clear business case for hiring aspiring workers, suggests opening the doors to aspiring workers living with mental illness is a win-win for employers and employees. The report summarizes an in-depth MHCC research study that examined the costs and benefits of recruiting and retaining people living with mental illness. Institute for Work & Health Senior Scientist Dr. Emile Tompa conducted the cost-benefit analysis for the study. According to the report, employer’s projected net savings over the five-year span due to accommodating a worker ranged from approximately $56,000 to $204,000.

See details
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Webinar: Supporting young adults with chronic episodic health conditions

Millennials represent a growing proportion of the labour market. A chronic, episodic disease can be a source of unpredictability that add to the challenges these young adults face in finding and keeping a job. On Thursday, April 4, hear Dr. Arif Jetha discuss the unique labour market experiences of young people with chronic conditions. Learn about accommodations that may help them, as well as the barriers they face accessing these workplace supports. This free webinar is offered by the Workplace Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute.

Learn more and register