Preventing occupational disease: Moving the agenda forward

Doors open 4.30 p.m.
Lecture 5.00 p.m.
Reception 6.00 p.m.

Design Exchange, 2nd Floor
234 Bay Street,
Toronto, Ontario

Paul Demers
Occupational Cancer Research Centre

Exposures arising from work in high-income countries are understood to be responsible for 15 to 20 per cent of all lung cancers, 15 per cent of asthma cases, and varying proportions of many other diseases. Compensated occupational disease fatalities in Canada, while only a small proportion of the burden, have exceeded the number of traumatic fatalities for more than a decade. There is a now a growing recognition that the burden will persist if we don’t pay increased regulatory and voluntary attention to occupational disease prevention. Science can play a fundamental role in supporting efforts to prevent occupational disease. 

Dr. Paul Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, is a leading international authority on the epidemiology of occupational cancers. In his 2018 Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture, Dr. Demers will review the distinct research challenges in establishing a causal relationship between exposure to substances in occupational settings and the onset of disease. He will also describe the process by which important international agencies establish a scientific consensus on disease causation arising from occupational exposures and the challenges of estimating the burden of occupational disease.

High-quality scientific evidence on harmful occupational exposures is but a first step in the prevention of occupational disease. Dr. Demers will also highlight past successes in occupational disease prevention in Canada and outline his perspective on opportunities to move the occupational disease prevention agenda in Canada in the decade ahead.

About presenter

Dr. Paul Demers is the director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre in Toronto, based at Cancer Care Ontario. He is also a senior scientist in prevention, screening and cancer control at Cancer Care Ontario; a professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto; and a clinical professor with the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.

Demers is internationally recognized for his expertise on the health effects of workplace exposures and sits on many expert panels, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working groups that evaluated carcinogens such as dusts and fibres, firefighting and formaldehyde. He has extensive research experience and accomplishments, including his leadership of a national program known as CAREX Canada, a workplace and environmental exposure database.

About the Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture

The annual Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture honours the significant contribution of Dr. Alf Nachemson to the use of research evidence in clinical decision-making. Dr. Nachemson was a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon and researcher from Sweden, and a founding member of the Institute for Work & Health’s Scientific Advisory Committee.  The lectureship is awarded to a prominent national or international individual who has made a significant and unique contribution to evidence-based practice or policy-making in the prevention of work-related injury, illness or disability.