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

IWH News

February 2022

IWH study finds psychosocial work factors lead to burnout, not other way around

Studies to date have repeatedly shown a link between poor psychosocial work conditions and burnout. Some have also shown the link to potentially be a causal one. But if work can cause burnout, might burnout influence a person’s relationship to work? A new study at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) recently explored this question. In an At Work article, IWH Associate Scientist and study lead author Dr. Faraz Vahid Shahidi shares his thoughts on the takeaway lessons.

Read the article

Webinar: Does cannabis use increase risk of work injury?

When recreational cannabis became legal in Canada in 2018, many employers worried about the implications for workplace health and safety. Central to that concern was the question: does cannabis use increase a worker’s risk of having a workplace injury? Past studies on this question have had important methodological shortcomings, and they’ve yielded mixed findings. In a March 8 IWH Speaker Series webinar, Associate Scientist Dr. Nancy Carnide shares new findings from a study of Canadian workers who were surveyed before legalization and every year since. In the presentation, she focuses on what the study has revealed about the relationship between cannabis use off work, cannabis use at work, and subsequent workplace injury.

Find out more and sign up

How workers and managers view workplace supports for depression

Many types of workplace practices and supports are available to help and accommodate workers with depression. But which do workers find most useful? Do their managers find the same? A study by IWH Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd asks workers with lived experience of depression and the people who manage them, and finds rather divergent views.

Read about the findings

In most sectors, workplaces saw lower COVID transmission rates than in the community

In the absence of rigorous monitoring of COVID-19 spread due to work, a research team at IWH and Public Health Ontario used population-level data in Ontario and Canada to estimate the role of workplaces in the pandemic’s first three waves. As outlined in a recent webinar, the researchers found that, in most sectors, workplace transmission rates of COVID were lower than the rates of community spread. They also found layers of infection control measures adopted by the vast majority of employers.

Read about the studies

Help us spread the word to first responders outside Canada

An IWH team is gathering field knowledge about policies, programs and practices related to post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSIs) that are being implemented in firefighter, paramedic and police organizations. What the team learns will inform the development of practical guidance to support first responder organizations in Canada and, specifically, Alberta (the funder of the project). The team has had great input from Canadian first responder services and associations, as well as from non-profits supporting firefighters, paramedics or police officers. It’s now hoping to hear more from their counterparts across the globe. Please help us spread the word. To take part, email

Find out more

IWH researchers discuss mental health and MSD link in RSI Day webinar

February 28 is International RSI Day, a day to raise awareness about repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). To mark the day, join IWH researchers in a webinar exploring the link between psychosocial work factors and MSDs. The webinar, featuring IWH Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd and Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Heather Johnston, along with Université du Québec à Montréal’s Dr. Karen Messing, is hosted by Safe Work Manitoba.

Get details and sign up

RSI Day: Raise awareness with CRE-MSD resources

RSI Day is a good opportunity to raise awareness about preventing repetitive strain injuries using resources from the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD). Repetitive, awkward postures and forceful exertions are examples of work-related risk factors that can contribute to RSIs. No matter your industry or position, resources within the MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario are helpful for awareness and prevention: Types of MSD, Hazard ID & Risk Assessment Tool Picker, Hazards & Controls Picker.

Go the CRE-MSD website

Protecting your skin at work: CREOD posters available in multiple languages

Scientists at the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease have developed several posters to promote skin health at work. The posters, “What to do when you wear a mask” and “How to keep your hands healthy,” are available in English, French, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Find the posters at the CREOD website

For more information, please contact

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

Uyen Vu
Senior 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.

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