Dr. Emile Tompa

Senior Scientist
PhD, Economics, McMaster University

For Dr. Emile Tompa, studying economics was a natural outcome of his interest in the sustainability of our resources. How to get the most for the least, that’s the basis for economics, he explains. I wanted to analyze issues relating to occupational health and safety from the standpoint of this basic challenge.

As a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, Tompa is conducting a number of studies from this standpoint. For example, he is currently working on a study led by Dr. Allison Williams at McMaster University on caregiver-friendly workplace policies. The study includes interventions in two worksites, and Tompa is evaluating their economic implications from the perspective of workers, employers and society. Another study he is spearheading is an evaluation of the economic burden of occupational cancers in Canada.

Tompa's economic background is also instrumental to his ongoing research into the adequacy of workers’ compensation benefits in cases of permanent impairment. A new linkage of an Ontario injured worker sample is being used in one study to evaluate benefits adequacy of the most recent workers’ compensation program. Another recently completed study evaluates poverty levels of injured workers and their families across four different benefit programs from different time periods.

In other work related to benefits programs, Tompa is co-director of the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy, an initiative funded for seven years by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. The Centre is a transdisciplinary collaborative on the future of work disability policy in Canada. It includes 50-plus academics and 50-plus partner organizations from across the country.

It’s important that we get the most from our insurance and disability support programs, he says, coming back to the question of resources. We want to maximize the positive aspects of these programs and minimize the negative. That’s what this research is about.

Current projects: 

Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy

Policies and practices on the accommodation of persons with visible disabilities in the workplace: An evidence synthesis

Cost-benefit analysis of caregiver-friendly workplace policy interventions on the health of full-time caregiver-employees

Assessment of the human and economic burden of workplace cancer

Impairment and work disability of workers' compensation claimants in Ontario: A cohort study of new claimants from 1998-2006

Work injury and poverty: Investigating prevalence across programs and over time

Selected Publications: 

Scott-Marshall HK, Tompa E, Wang Y, Liao Q. Long-term mortality risk in individuals with permanent work-related impairment. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2014; 105(5):e330-e335.

van Dongen JM, Tompa E, Clune L, Sarnocinska-Hart A, Bongers PM, van Tulder MW, van der Beek AJ, van Wier MF. 2013. Bridging the gap between the economic evaluation literature and daily practice in occupational health: A qualitative study among decision makers in the healthcare sector. Implementation Science, 2013; 8(1):57; doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-8-57

Guzman J, Ibrahimova A, Tompa E, Koehoorn M, Alamgir H. Non-wage losses associated with occupational injury among healthcare workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2013; 55(8):910-6; doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31828dc9ea.

Tompa E, Hogg-Johnson S, Amick B, Wang Y, Shen E, Mustard C, Robson L, Saunders R. 2013. Financial incentives of experience rating in workers’ compensation: New evidence from a program change in Ontario Canada. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2013; 55(3):292-304; doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31827827fa.

Tompa E. Chapter 4: Measuring the burden of work disability: A review of methods, measurement issues, and evidence. In: Handbook of Work Disability: Prevention and Management, Anema H, Loisel P, Eds., 2013; Springer, pp. 43-58.

Tompa E, Dolinschi R, Natale J. Economic evaluation of a participatory ergonomics intervention in a textile plant. Applied Ergonomics, 2013; 44: 480-487; doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2012.10.019.