Workplace disability management

More and more Canadian workplaces are setting up accommodation and return-to-work (RTW) programs to help ensure employees with work-related and non-work-related injuries and illnesses are able to remain at work or return to work as quickly as they are safely able to do so. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) conducts extensive research into the workplace policies and procedures that most effectively help workers safely remain at and return to work, as well as system-level programs (e.g. those offered by workers’ compensation boards) that support workplaces in doing so. This research also explores life-course issues, work disability trajectories, RTW prognostic factors, and the scope and impact of chronic, episodic and other conditions that are not necessarily caused by work, but affect the ability of people to find and keep work.

Latest news and findings

A collage of portraits of diverse workers

New website offers workplace information on accommodating and communicating about episodic disabilities

Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED), a five-year partnership led by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), is developing evidence-based workplace resources to support the sustained employment of people with chronic, intermittent and often-invisible disabilities (e.g. depression, arthritis, HIV/AIDs, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis and more). Today, IWH launched a website to share information about the ACED project, the partners involved, and the findings and tools as they become available.

See this brand new website
Graphic of supervisor, with "supervisors matter" in text

Supervisor’s response to work injury matters to return to work: Our latest video

Supervisors are busy. They’re always juggling multiple demands for their time and attention. But that moment when they learn a worker is injured, do they react with concern and empathy or blame and skepticism? As the latest research-based video from the Institute sums up, a supervisor’s response can make a difference to whether an injured worker returns to work successfully within a few months. It’s one of the ways supervisors matter.

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Two grey-haired workers have a discussion

What an aging workforce means for injury and RTW outcomes

As the average age of Canadian workers continues to rise, employers may wonder about the effects on work injury, recovery, return to work and remaining at work. Some may expect that risks of injury are higher among older workers, that their injuries are more severe, or that timelines to recover and return to work are longer. However, findings from recent studies, including several conducted at IWH, paint a more nuanced picture. We summarized the evidence in an article published this spring in the Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Association (OOHNA) Journal.

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When and how do financial incentives work to encourage the hiring of people with disabilities?

Wage subsidies and other financial supports are widely used by Canadian governments to encourage employers to hire people with disabilities. Yet, employers, disability advocates, service providers and people with disabilities hold strong and often polarized views about the merits of these incentives. What's more, the research on the effectiveness of these policy instruments is surprisingly scarce. That's why an IWH team, in a new research project, is setting out to produce guidelines and resources on best use of financial incentives.  

Read about this project
5 things we think you should know about RTW promo image

5 things we think you should know about RTW

Ground your return-to-work programs and policies on evidence. Every April, the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) highlights five research findings from the previous year that we think can make a difference to workplace injury and disability prevention programs. We now unveil a new variation, "5 things we think you should know about RTW." It sums up five recommendations for improving your return-to-work and stay-at-work practices, based on recent research from IWH.  

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