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 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
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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A paramedic wearing a face mask stands next to two ambulances

COVID-19 concerns greater for workers with health conditions

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many in Canada’s workforce worried about their health and finances. Those worries are even greater for workers living with an underlying and invisible chronic health condition. In the planning of health and safety responses to COVID-19 and the ultimate reopening of workplaces, employers should be aware of the unique needs of this potentially vulnerable group of workers, writes IWH Scientist Dr. Arif Jetha in The Conversation.

Find the link in IWH in the media
blurry silhouettes of two colleagues talking

Poorer post-injury experiences lead to worse RTW outcomes for psychological claimants

Workers’ compensation claimants with work-related psychological injuries report poorer experiences and interactions throughout the return-to-work (RTW) process. According to an IWH study conducted in Australia, these experiences are interconnected, leading to longer time off from work.

Read about the study
Close-up of two pairs of hands, belong to a counsellor and a patient sitting on a couch

Access to mental health services among workers with physical injuries

Among workers with a compensation claim for a work-related musculoskeletal injury, 30 per cent also experience a serious mental condition. However, a minority of these workers receive treatment for their mental health conditions, according to an Institute for Work & Health study conducted in Australia.

Read the summary