Document directory

Activity Plan
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Research Highlights
An IWH study examined how opioid harms in a large group of formerly injured Ontario workers compared to harms in the general Ontario population. They found that the formerly injured workers had higher risks of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for opioid-related harms. This pattern was seen across most occupations and industries within this group of workers.
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Research Highlights
The unpredictable and often invisible nature of episodic disabilities can make it challenging for workers to find and sustain employment while managing their fluctuating symptoms and work demands. For young adults navigating early career phases, these challenges may also have life-long impacts on their career progression and health. Researchers on an IWH study set out to investigate whether employment support programs for young adults with episodic disabilities may also impact their health.
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Project report
Jetha A
Social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends are changing the nature and availability of work at a rapid rate. These changes will bring challenges and opportunities for young persons living with disabilities who are entering the working world. This report summarizes the results of a multi-phase study that used a consensus-building approach to identify the future challenges that may face young persons with disabilities and the rank the different strategies that might ensure young people with disabilities find and sustain employment in the decades ahead.
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Project report
Jetha A
Les tendances sociales, technologiques, économiques, environnementales et politiques modifient rapidement la nature et la disponibilité du travail. Ces changements seront source de défis et d’opportunités pour les jeunes personnes vivant avec un handicap qui entrent dans le monde du travail. Ce rapport résume les résultats d'une étude en plusieurs phases qui a utilisé une approche de recherche de consensus pour identifier les défis futurs auxquels les jeunes handicapés pourraient être confrontés et classer les différentes stratégies qui pourraient garantir que les jeunes handicapés trouvent et conservent un emploi dans les décennies à venir.
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Tools and guides
This guide is intended to help researchers and research organizations plan knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) strategies and activities to enhance the relevance, quality and use of their research to inform policy or practice.
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Impact case study
A key program from Construction Health and Safety New Zealand—developed using IWH research—takes a participatory ergonomics approach to better prevent and manage musculoskeletal injuries among construction workers.
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Annual Report
What's Next: The Institute for Work & Health's 2022/23 Annual report
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Impact case study
An IWH study on the effectiveness of Ontario's mandatory training was helpful to the labour ministry in several ways—including in reinforcing the value of program evaluations.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Research Highlights
While cannabis is often used recreationally, there is growing interest in its use for therapeutic purposes, such as for pain, anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Some workers are using cannabis many months following the onset of a work-related condition, whether to treat their condition or for other reasons, mostly without medical guidance.
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Project report
Robson LS, Chen C, Imam S, Biswas A, Landsman V, Shahidi FV, Smith PM, Mustard C
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the ongoing trend toward online learning in many spheres of life, including occupational health and safety (OHS) training. However, it's not clear whether online delivery methods are as effective as in-person methods. To help address the research gap, a study set out to compare face-to-face learning, online instructor-led synchronous distance learning and online self-paced e-learning training delivery methods. It centers on a provincially regulated standardized OHS training. The main research question asks whether the three training delivery methods differ in the post-training knowledge gain by learners. Secondary research questions are asked about other factors affecting knowledge achievement, other training outcomes, and learner suggestions for improving the training.
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Accomplishments Report
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Research Highlights
While primary care physicians play an important role in helping ill and injured workers return to work (RTW), they have a variety of learning needs about how to best navigate the RTW process. These needs fall in the areas of completing administrative tasks, challenging personal beliefs, understanding specific RTW issues and learning about available RTW services and tools.
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Sharing Best Evidence
In the first systematic review on the subject, IWH examined the research literature on racial and ethnic inequities in return to work. It found strong evidence that non-white workers are less likely than white workers to return to work following an injury or illness—and moderate evidence that Black workers face pronounced barriers.
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Impact case study
After an IWH study filled a research gap on claim suppression in B.C. and helped make the case for change, the province amended legislation to strengthen protections against the practice.
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Activity Plan
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Research Highlights
According to an IWH study, Canadian workers typically fall into six patterns of daily movement. These six patterns are associated with varying levels of cardiometabolic disease risk. In general, workers with higher daily activity levels had lower levels of cardiometabolic disease risk factors, but those with moderate activity also showed lower risk factors.
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Strategic Plan
IWH's 2023-2027 Strategic Plan lays out four key strategic directions that will guide the Institute for the next five-year period.
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Project report
Jetha A
In the fall of 2022, an Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research team set out to examine how working life could change in Canada over the next seven years and what the implications might be for young adults with a disability. Using strategic foresight methods, the IWH team created three future scenarios that are designed to provoke discussion about the policies needed now to ensure an inclusive future for people with disabilities.
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Tools and guides
This tool identifies job demands that are difficult for a worker with a chronic, potentially episodic, health condition and suggests personalized accommodation ideas tailored to these demands that can help the worker continue to work comfortably, safety and productively.
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Impact case study
When the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba decided to update its return-to-work training, it wanted to build confidence in the content by including evidence-based guidance from trusted sources. For a key part of the workshop, it turned to the Institute for Work & Health's "Seven Principles."
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Project report
Tompa E, Imam S, Varickanickal J, Mofidi A, Gewurtz R, Irvin E, Southey B
Il existe actuellement peu ou pas d’informations sur les niveaux de compétences fondamentales et transférables des personnes handicapées (PH). Une equipe de recherche a fait une analyse documentaire et une entrevue avec des informateurs clés pour identifier et combler les lacunes dans les connaissances, ainsi que pour aider à guider l’élaboration de recommandations sur la façon dont les lacunes restantes pourraient être comblées.
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Project report
Tompa E, Imam S, Varickanickal J, Mofidi A, Gewurtz R, Irvin E, Southey B
There is currently little to no information on the foundational and transferable skill levels of persons with disabilities (PWDs). Through a literature review and key informant interviews, a research team set out to identify and fill knowledge gaps, as well as help inform the development of recommendations for how remaining gaps could be filled.
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Annual Report
Looking Across Time: The Institute for Work & Health's 2021/22 Annual report
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Impact case study
When the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association went looking for a tool to measure the OHS performance of its members firms, it turned to the Institute's easy-to-use, eight-item safety culture measure—the IWH-OPM.
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Booklet
Van Eerd D
This summary of an IWH research project outlines challenges in return to work within police services related to three key themes: accommodation, communication and trust-building, all within the culture and context of policing.
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Infographic
What daily physical activity pattern is best for your heart health? To answer this question, researchers at the Institute for Work & Health analyzed activity tracker data in a nationally representative sample of 8,909 workers and their 10-year risk of heart disease. This infographic compares how Canadian workers get their exercise—and the implications for their cardiovascular health.
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Activity Plan
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Research Highlights
Young adults with rheumatic disease who reported high work activity limitations were also more likely to report persistent high levels of pain, fatigue and active rheumatic disease symptoms. Those who experienced job insecurity were more likely to report persistent pain and active disease symptoms. That's according to an IWH follow-up study conducted over 27 months.
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Impact case study
IWH’s Research Impact Model, developed in 2010 to guide the Institute's thinking about its impact, has resonated with other work-health research organizations and informed how they assess the impact of their work.
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Research Highlights
Work-related training delivered through synchronous or real-time online formats can be just as effective as face-to-face training in building workers’ knowledge or skills. This finding is based on a relatively sparse body of research looking at training aimed at adult learners at the undergraduate level or higher.
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Research Highlights
Communication is central to disability management—especially in large and complex organizations where multiple parties are involved in the return-to-work process and inconsistent practices can add to communication challenges. Workplace stakeholders in large and complex organizations use key strategies to effectively communicate about RTW. They include communicating messages of support, correctly timing RTW communication, carefully wording messages, framing messages and tailoring messages for individual workers.
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Research Highlights
Personal support workers (PSWs) faced a range of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including concerns of contracting or transmitting the virus, reduced work hours and income, loss of childcare services and lack of paid sick leave. While the pandemic highlighted the importance of the PSW workforce to the Canadian health-care system, pre-existing poor working conditions—in particular, insecure jobs with few benefits—exacerbated COVID-19-related work experiences.
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Accomplishments Report
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Impact case study
When the WSIB decided to revisit the methods behind the Health and Safety Index, two IWH researchers provided advice on areas where the index could be improved. In October 2021, the HSI was revised, incorporating many of the suggestions provided by IWH.
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Issue Briefing
Following a 2017 study to estimate occupational health and safety (OHS) expenditures by employers with 20 or more employees in Ontario, Canada, an Institute for Work & Health (IWH) team has set out to estimate the financial return on those OHS expenditures. This Issue Briefing shares findings from that follow-up study.
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5 Things We Think You Should Know
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Project report
Jetha A, Nasir K
Researchers at the Institute for Work & Health are looking for concrete ways to ensure youth and young adults with disabilities are included in the future of work. In the summer of 2021, a research team conducted an online survey with a wide range of people across Canada. This report summarizes six key areas in the future of work that survey participants indicated could both pose difficulties and offer opportunities to young people with disabilities. The report also presents the solutions that participants suggested to address the barriers and take advantage of the opportunities.
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Project report
Tompa E, Samosh D, Johnston H, Irvin E, Gewurtz R, Padkapayeva K, Moser C
This report provides evidence-based insights for policy-makers on the design and administration of funding programs for employment services for persons with disabilities that promote gainful and, ideally, sustainable paid employment opportunities.
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Impact case study
Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board made a modified version of an Institute safety culture tool called the IWH-OPM available to firms as a voluntary component of participating in its Health and Safety Excellence Program.
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Research Highlights
It can be challenging to tackle long-standing musculoskeletal hazards in busy, high turnover settings such as long-term care homes. Despite this, an IWH study finds a participatory approach—one that involves frontline workers—can be successfully implemented and sustained.
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Research Highlights
In a survey of workers with depression and those who manage them, nearly one out of four said no supports were available. Asked about the most helpful type of support, survey respondents with lived experience of depression most often indicated employee assistance programs (EAPs) and other supports external to the workplace. As for barriers to implementing practices, participants noted unsupportive managers, lack of knowledge about mental health in the workplace, and lack of training for managers.
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Annual Report
Taking Stock: The Institute for Work & Health's 2020/21 Annual report
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Infographic
Institute for Work & Health
How different is return to work for people with work-related psychological injuries compared to those with work-related musculoskeletal conditions? To answer this question, researchers at the Institute for Work & Health and Monash University followed 869 injured workers in Victoria, Australia for 12 months. This infographic highlights key findings from the study.
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Research Highlights
If Canada were a fully accessible and inclusive society, the economic benefits would amount to about $337.7 billion in calendar year 2017. This amount is equal to about 17.6 per cent of the gross domestic product in that year.
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Miscellaneous
This handout provides a shortcut to selected IWH resources focused on strengthening safety culture and advancing a culture of prevention.
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Miscellaneous
This handout highlights Institute research exploring and evaluating workplace and policy-level interventions to address longstanding occupational health and safety (OHS) challenges in high-hazard sectors.
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Miscellaneous
This handout highlights Institute research focused on the ways work and the labour force are changing and the implications
for worker health and safety.
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Project report
Robson LS, Irvin E, Padkapayeva K, Begum M, Zukowski M
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a shift away from in-person classroom delivery of training, towards synchronous online learning formats. Training in occupational health and safety (OHS) has been included in that shift. To help provide the research evidence on the effectiveness of synchronous online learning for OHS training, the Institute for Work & Health undertook two rapid reviews. The reviews were guided by the question: What is the effectiveness of synchronous online learning for occupational purposes, compared to face-to-face learning or other e-learning?
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