Working conditions and health

What are the effects of work, workplace and labour force conditions on the health and safety of workers and other members of society? Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research in this area seeks to understand the context in which government, sector-based and workplace injury and disability prevention programs operate. This research explores known and emerging injuries, diseases and disorders that are related to job, workplace and/or labour market conditions. It looks at the scope, potential causes and risk factors for these injuries and illnesses, as well as their effect on workers, workplaces, regulators and society as a whole.

Latest news and findings

A woman in a wheelchair works from her home office

Disability and Work in Canada conference videos are now available

The devastating impact of COVID-19 on employment for people with disabilities was a major theme at the annual Disability and Work in Canada conference, held late last year. But participants also heard about ongoing initiatives on strengthening income support, promoting workplace inclusion, measuring progress—and many others that make up a pan-Canadian strategy to improve paid employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Conference videos are now available at the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy conference page

Read about conference highlights
A woman works at a laundry service

Age, tenure raise risk of job precarity among workers with disabilities

Which groups of workers are at greater risk of working in precarious jobs? According to a new IWH study, among people with disabilities, older workers and workers with less tenure worker are those with higher risks.  

Read about the study
A pair of hands roll a cannabis joint

What factors differentiate people who use cannabis at work and those who don't?

Job visibility. Supervisors willing to address on-the-job cannabis use. When examining the factors that set apart people who used cannabis at work from those who used cannabis but never on the job, researchers at IWH found some factors that were expected, including the factors mentioned above. But some of the factors they found were both surprising and hard to explain.

Find out more
Masked restaurant worker prepares take-out food orders

Issue Briefing examines role of workplace COVID outbreaks in Ontario’s second wave

In the current second wave of COVID-19 in Ontario, workplace outbreaks—not including outbreaks in health-care, congregate living (e.g. correctional) and educational settings—represent slightly over five per cent of all cases among working-age adults, down from a high of 22 per cent in June. That’s according to an analysis by IWH Scientific Co-Director Dr. Peter Smith and President Dr. Cam Mustard, detailed in a new Issue Briefing.

Read the Issue Briefing
Three construction workers smile for the camera

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? On Tuesday, January 12, Dr. Lynda Robson shared an update at an IWH Speaker Series presentation. The full report of that study is now available.

Read the report