Past events

e.g.: YY-MM-DD, YY-MM or MM-DD

IWH Speaker Series

Systematic review of workplace interventions to manage depression

Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health Kim Cullen, Institute for Work & Health Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health

By the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. What effective intervention approaches for managing depression can workplaces offer to help employees either stay at work while experiencing symptoms, or return to work after a depression-related absence? In this presentation, an Institute for Work & Health team share findings from a recent systematic review of the scientific literature on this question.

IWH Speaker Series

The burden of occupational cancer

Dr. Paul Demers, Occupational Cancer Research Centre; Cancer Care Ontario

In October 2017, the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) and Cancer Care Ontario released a report on the impact of workplace carcinogens in Ontario. The report, Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario: Major Workplace Carcinogens and Prevention of Exposure, focused on carcinogens that are well-established causes of cancer—​for example, solar ultraviolet radiation, asbestos, diesel engine exhaust and crystalline silica—as well as commonly known or suspected carcinogens found in Ontario workplaces. In this presentation, the first in the newly named IWH Speaker Series, Dr. Paul Demers shares the report's key findings. He also discusses policy recommendations aimed at the government, Ontario’s occupational health and safety system, employers and non-governmental organizations.

IWH Speaker Series

Availability of caregiver-friendly workplace policies: an international scoping review

Dr. Allison Williams, McMaster University

Where are caregiver-friendly workplaces commonly found? What sectors are they in and what characteristics do their policies share? In this plenary, Dr. Allison Williams shares findings from her scoping review on the availability of workplace policies to support employees who have additional off-work responsibilities of caring for loved ones.

IWH Speaker Series

Addressing essential skills gaps in an OHS training program: a pilot study

Ron Saunders, Director of Knowledge Transfer & Exchange, Institute for Work & Health Siobhan Cardoso, Institute for Work & Health Morgane Le Pouésard, Institute for Work & Health

Can an occupational health and safety (OHS) training program be improved by modifying it to address gaps in essential skills? In a recent study, a research team led by Dr. Ron Saunders modified a hoisting and rigging training program offered by the LIUNA Local 506 training centre. The changes were made to address trainees’ skills gaps in numeracy and document use that were related to the job. In this plenary, the team share findings regarding the effect of modifying the curriculum on trainee learning and discuss suggestions for improving training efforts within the construction sector.

IWH Speaker Series

Hand-arm vibration syndrome: a common but under-recognized problem

Dr. Ron House, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a common occupational disease, which in advanced cases may be associated with significant upper extremity disability and reduced quality of life. However, HAVS is under-recognized and under-reported in Ontario and other Canadian provinces. Moreover, there is currently no legislation in Ontario for hand-arm vibration exposure. In this plenary, Dr. Ron House shares his HAVS research at St. Michael's Hospital and the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease (CREOD). He describes HAVS and its components, outlines its clinical assessment and management, and reviews the legislation for hand-arm vibration exposure and compensation experience for HAVS in Canada. He also highlights recent efforts to raise awareness of HAVS and increase focus on preventing this occupational exposure.

IWH Speaker Series

Do workplace facilities and health promotion programs help workers be physically active?

Aviroop Biswas, Institute for Work & Health

Despite the known health benefits of regular physical activity, over half of adults fail to meet physical activity recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. Recognizing that working-aged adults typically spend a third of their day at work, many workplaces offer wellness programs and facilities that support physical activity near or at work. In this plenary, Dr. Avi Biswas shares the results of a study that drew from a national survey of Canadians to examine the relationship between access to such facilities and wellness programs and the leisure time physical activity of workers.

Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture

High-hazard industries: addressing safety culture, climate and leadership to improve outcomes

Dr. Linda M. Goldenhar, Director of Research and Evaluation, CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, Maryland

IWH Speaker Series

Safe employment integration of recent immigrants and refugees

Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, Scientist, Institute for Work & Health Basak Yanar, Institute for Work & Health Dina Al-Khooly, Practicum Student, Institute for Work & Health

Settlement and integration involve helping recent immigrants and refugees find work and become economically solvent. Many newcomers end up in survival jobs that expose them to hazards and are precarious and physically demanding. In this plenary, presenters Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, Dr. Basak Yanar and Dina Al-khooly summarize a recent study investigating how newcomers come to understand their rights and where there are gaps in resources and training. They offer suggestions on ways to help recent immigrants and refugees successfully prepare for and remain in safe, quality jobs.

IWH Speaker Series

The role of Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) ergonomists

Brian McInnes, Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL)

During Global Ergonomics Month, get the inside scoop on what Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) ergonomists do. Brian McInnes, provincial ergonomist at MOL, walks the audience through a day in the life of MOL ergonomists. He discusses the types of ergonomics analyses they perform, the different components of their ergonomics-related field visits, and the options they have for enforcement. A few case studies are shared.


Lancaster House Workplace Safety and Insurance Conference

This one-day conference features a keynote address by IWH Scientist Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, who's also a member of the conference advisory committee. Her address is entitled, "The role of health-care providers in the workers' compensation system and the return-to-work process."


Lancaster House Health and Safety Conference

Panel and workshop topics include: major caselaw and legislative update, workplace strategies for preventing post-traumatic stress disorder, lessons from a seasoned accident investigator, dealing with domestic violence in the workplace, ending sexual harassment as required by Bill 132, effective anti-harassment programs and investigations, and winning cases at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

IWH Speaker Series

Evaluation of a safe resident handling program in U.S. nursing homes

Alicia Kurowski, University of Massachusetts Lowell

How effective are safe resident handling programs? In a 10-year research project, a team at the Center for Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) set out to measure the impact of one such program that was implemented across 200 nursing home centres. In this plenary, project manager Alicia Kurowski shares the team’s findings on outcomes such as ergonomic exposures, self-reported back pain, injury rates, return-to-work outcomes and return on investment.

IWH Speaker Series

Designing disability income support policy for mental illness

Dr. Ashley McAllister, Karolinska Institute

The features of mental illnesses pose challenges when designing disability income support (DIS) programs, yet there is limited evidence about the process. In this plenary, Dr. Ashley McAllister shares the results of a study in Australia and Ontario, which interviewed policy designers of DIS programs about the challenges related to mental illnesses. She outlines five main challenges and considers the ramifications of ignoring them—including distrust among policy designers of physicians' evidence to support DIS applications.

IWH Speaker Series

Understanding effective worker health and safety representation

John Oudyk, Andrew King and Alan Hall, The Labour/OHCOW/Academic Research Collaboration (LOARC)

The right of worker representation has been a central tenet of occupational health and safety for over 40 years. While evidence shows that it improves health and safety at work, few attempts have been made to show how. In this plenary, a team of academics and labour representatives known as LOARC (short for Labour/OHCOW/Academic Research Collaboration) share their work examining what worker representatives actually do to achieve change. How much does it matter whether worker representatives adopt a more legal/technical approach or a more knowledge activist approach? Findings on effective worker health and safety representation styles are discussed.

IWH Speaker Series

The biopsychosocial model: Time for a new back pain revolution?

Dr. Maurits Van Tulder, VU University Amsterdam

The management of low-back pain has changed from a passive approach calling for bed rest, traction and massage to a more active approach, one focused on staying active, exercise and multidisclipnary rehabilitation. This is in line with the change from a biomedical to a biopsychosocial model for understanding low-back pain over the last 20 years. However, the burden of low-back pain is still high, and the evidence for the biopsychosocial approach is still small. In this plenary, Dr. Maurits Van Tulder discusses the need for a new revolution in low-back pain research and the obligation researchers have to contribute to improving clinical practice.

IWH Speaker Series

New World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on rehabilitation in health systems

Andrea Furlan, Institute for Work & Health

In February of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report titled Rehabilitation in health systems, which includes nine recommendations to improve rehabilitation services around the world. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) played a key role in the development of these recommendations, being one of three research organizations contracted by WHO to canvas the evidence on the best ways to strengthen and expand the availability of quality rehabilitation services. While the report primarily targets low- and middle-income countries, as noted by Dr. Andrea Furlan, lead researcher of the IWH evidence-gathering team contracted by WHO, “the recommendations resonate in Canada as well, given that rehabilitation plays an important role in keeping people in an aging population independent for longer, and helping people with chronic and acute injuries participate in school and work.” At this plenary, Dr. Furlan and Emma Irvin (also on the IWH research team) discuss the WHO’s recommendations for improving rehabilitation services globally, as well as the evidence behind them.

IWH Speaker Series

Evaluating the impact of mandatory awareness training in Ontario

Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health

On July 1, 2014, a new occupational health and safety requirement took effect in Ontario. All employers in the province now have to provide employees and supervisors with training about the duties and rights of workers, employers and supervisors under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA); the roles of joint health and safety committees; the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board; workplace hazards and workplace violence, controlled products (if applicable) and occupational illness. In this plenary, Dr. Peter Smith shares the results of a study that examined differences in the level of self-reported occupational health and safety (OHS) awareness and empowerment among employed workers in Ontario before and after the introduction of the mandatory training. He also discusses the implications of the results for future province-wide initiatives focusing on the primary prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses.

IWH Speaker Series

Doctors and workers’ compensation: how system design shapes doctors’ roles

Dr. Katherine Lippel, Canada Research Chair on Occupational Health and Safety Law, University of Ottawa

How are the roles of doctors in the workers’ compensation system different in Quebec and Ontario? In this plenary, Professor Katherine Lippel shares findings from a qualitative and comparative regulatory study, conducted in both provinces, to examine the impact of regulatory contexts on the roles and practices of doctors and other players in the system.

IWH Speaker Series

Have we learned enough for workplace Parkinson's disease prevention?

Dr. Anne Harris, Syme Fellow, Institute for Work & Health; Ryerson University

We currently don't fully understand why some people develop Parkinson's disease as they age while others do not. Since genetic inheritance accounts for a very small proportion of cases, researchers have been interested in environmental causes, including workplace exposures. In this plenary, epidemiologist Dr. Anne Harris talks about the evidence for or against several candidate risk factors, including pesticides, head injury, and whole body vibration.

IWH Speaker Series

Health-care providers and their role in return to work

Research around the world has shown that health-care providers have a key role in the return-to-work (RTW) process. However, pressure on consultation time, administrative challenges and limited knowledge about a patient’s workplace can thwart meaningful engagement. In a two-year study conducted in four Canadian provinces, Dr. Agnieszka Kosny focused on the experiences of health-care providers within the workers’ compensation system and their role in the RTW process. She shares her findings in this plenary.