Monthly news and research findings from the Institute for Work & Health

IWH News

December 2020

Season’s Greetings from all of us at IWH

With the approach of a holiday season like no other, we at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) send you our very best wishes. It has been quite a year. More than ever, we look back on it and forward to the next with the utmost appreciation for your support and commitment to safe work and healthy workers.

IWH 2019/20 annual report looks at the Institute’s COVID pivot

On March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, the very thing we study at IWH—the intersection between work and health—changed dramatically. The 2019/20 annual report, now out, looks at how IWH pivoted to address this disruption by adapting research in progress to include a COVID-19 lens, and by working with collaborators to conduct new research related to the effects of the new coronavirus.

Read the annual report

Rapid antigen detection testing a potential game-changer

Rapid antigen detection tests can play an important role in the next phase of Canada’s COVID-19 response. With a convenience that some have likened to that of home pregnancy tests, these rapid tests can be used in workplace settings—foremost for repeated testing in high-risk workplaces such as long-term care homes, food manufacturing facilities and correctional institutions, writes IWH President Dr. Cam Mustard.

Read the article

Working with a rheumatic disease: a new tool for young people

Youth and young adults with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis and lupus face unique challenges as they begin their working lives. A new tool is now available to help them navigate these challenges. “Working with a rheumatic disease” is an interactive tool designed to help young people identify potential challenges, and find information and trusted resources to overcome them.

See the tool

The “union safety effect” in Ontario’s construction sector: study update

Five years ago, a study conducted by IWH compared work-related injury rates between unionized and non-unionized companies in Ontario’s institutional, commercial and industrial (ICI) construction sector. It found unionized companies had lower rates of lost-time injury claims than their non-unionized counterparts, after accounting for other factors like company size. Is this “union safety effect” still holding true? Find out at a January 12 IWH Speaker Series presentation, at which IWH Scientist Dr. Lynda Robson shares an update of that study based on data from 2012-2018.

Sign up for the webinar

OHCOW worker pandemic surveys being re-launched for COVID second wave

Help the researchers at Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) and IWH build on their insights on workers’ experiences in the pandemic. Two surveys—one for health-care workers and one for all others—are being relaunched for the second wave of COVID-19. Available in English and French, the surveys are designed to measure different aspects of job-related psychosocial conditions, along with symptoms related to anxiety and depression.

Take and share the surveys

New OCRC website to identify workers at higher risk of cancer and other diseases

Find at a glance the worker groups most at risk from exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. A new, interactive website, Ontario Occupational Disease Statistics, allows users to explore risks of disease for Ontario workers in five industry sectors and hundreds of occupational groups, with additional sectors coming soon. It was created by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC), in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and with funding from Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Go to

Calling health-care workers: Help CREOD test an e-learning tool on skin disease prevention

Do you wash your hands often at work? Occupational contact dermatitis is common among health-care workers, due to exposure to wet work, handwashing and use of gloves. With funding from the WSIB, the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease (CREOD) has partnered with the Public Services Health and Safety Association to develop an e-learning tool. It takes 10 minutes to complete and covers information on the causes of dermatitis and ways to protect workers’ skin. With support from VHA Home Healthcare, the tool is now ready to be tested. All health-care workers—for example, nurses, personal support workers and dental assistants—are invited to take part.

Find out more

For more information, please contact

Cindy Moser
Director of Communications
416-927-2027, ext. 2183

Uyen Vu
Communications Associate

IWH News is distributed monthly by the Institute for Work & Health, an independent, not-for-profit organization that conducts and shares research to protect and improve the health and safety of working people.

Did someone forward this e-mail to you? Subscribe now to receive your own copy.

400 University Avenue, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON   M5G 1S5   CANADA
t: 416-927-2027   f: 416-927-4167