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

An older female worker ponders decision while sitting in waiting room

Webinar now available: Supporting older workers to stay at work

Many older workers don't want to retire, but they may have support needs they don't want to disclose. How do employers provide these workers support and help them stay on the job? On September 20, at the first IWH Speaker Series webinar of the season, Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac shared insights from a recent study. The webinar is now available to watch on-demand.

Watch the webinar
A visually impaired businesswoman uses smartphone and earphones during a business meeting

New initiative aims to ‘skill up’ employers on inclusion of persons with disabilities

Efforts to date to improve the employment of persons with disabilities have focused on making them job-ready. A new initiative, a joint project at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and McMaster University, now sets out to flip that approach on its head. It aims to “skill up” workplaces instead.  

Read about the initiative
Screen grab of the video displays the title, "Challenge 1: Impact of advanced digital technologies"

Join study on future challenges for young workers with disabilities

An ongoing study at the Institute for Work & Health identified six key challenges that young people with disabilities are expected to face in the future of work. In a series of short videos, we describe six major trends that are expected to shape employment for vulnerable workers over the next 10 years—and the program or policies that have the potential to protect these workers. Watch the first video and take part in the study.  

Watch the first of the six videos
A young worker at her computer workstation holds her shoulder and neck in pain

Study examines links between job conditions and rheumatic disease symptoms

Can work and labour market conditions be linked to worsened rheumatic symptoms in young adults with the disease? Most studies aimed at removing work barriers for young people with rheumatic diseases have focused on clinical care—not on adapting working conditions. An IWH study examined how job security and work limitations are linked with pain, fatigue and other rheumatic disease symptoms.

Read about the findings
Black silhouettes of two women in dialogue, with colourful speech bubbles above them

Return-to-work communication: workplace stakeholders share their strategies

Communication is central to disability management, especially in large and complex organizations where communication challenges can be exacerbated by the involvement of multiple parties and inconsistent practices. An IWH research team set out to better understand the strategies used by workplace stakeholders to effectively communicate return-to-work (RTW) issues. Their insights are now summed up in the latest Research Highlights.

Read the Research Highlights