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

A cropped selection of an infographic on RTW differences between mental and physical injuries

New infographic underlines key RTW differences between mental, physical injuries

Much of what we know about the return-to-work (RTW) process is based on workers’ compensation claims involving physical injuries. For people with mental health claims, the picture is very different. A new IWH infographic points out key disparities based on research conducted by the Institute.

Download the infographic
A doctor speaks to a patient, who's out of frame

Now recruiting health-care providers for new ECHO OEM mentoring project  

A new Project ECHO program on occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) has been launched! This telementoring project, which includes a research component led by IWH, is designed to offer support and advice to Ontario health-care providers who have patients with work-related health conditions. The program is now recruiting primary care providers—including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and other allied health professionals. Sessions are held via videoconference each Friday from September 17 to December 3, 2021.

Find out more and sign up
A masked worker riding a bus

Workers’ COVID concerns related to their work conditions, not disability status: study

People with both physical and mental health disabilities were the most concerned about their work, health and finances during the early part of the pandemic. That’s according to an Institute for Work & Health (IWH) study led by Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac. Notably, the study found concerns were linked to people’s work conditions, not to their health or disability status.

Read about the study
An out-of-frame doctor talks to someone on a laptop screen

IWH set to launch telementoring project on occupational medicine for health professionals

Frontline health-care providers play an important role in helping people return to work following a work-related injury or illness. But family doctors and other frontline practitioners may lack familiarity with the workers’ compensation system and return-to-work processes. A new telementoring project is being launched in Ontario to address this skills gap. Project ECHO on Occupational and Environmental Medicine, to be hosted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), will launch in the fall. It will be the first such project on occupational medicine, using the innovative hub-and-spoke health-care mentoring model called ECHO—short for Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes—that’s now used around the world.

Find out more
A woman in a wheelchair works from her home office

Disability and Work in Canada conference videos are now available

The devastating impact of COVID-19 on employment for people with disabilities was a major theme at the annual Disability and Work in Canada conference, held late last year. But participants also heard about ongoing initiatives on strengthening income support, promoting workplace inclusion, measuring progress—and many others that make up a pan-Canadian strategy to improve paid employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Conference videos are now available at the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy conference page

Read about conference highlights