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 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
Two women sharing a confidence at work

Why people decide to disclose an episodic disability at work—and how that matters

Some of the most common chronic health conditions are episodic and invisible. As a result, people living with them often grapple with the complex decision of whether to tell their employers about their disability. A new study, led by IWH Senior Scientist Dr. Monique Gignac, looks at people’s reasons for disclosing or not. The findings shed light on how people’s reasons matter to the work support they subsequently receive.

Read about the findings
Illustration taken from the tool

Working with a rheumatic disease: a new tool for young people

Young people with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis or lupus face unique challenges as they begin their working lives. A new tool is now available to help them navigate these challenges. "Working with a rheumatic disease" is an interactive tool designed to help young people identify potential challenges and find information and trusted resources to overcome them. It was developed by the Institute for Work & Health with support from Cassie + Friends and funding from the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy.

See the tool
Monochrome splatter painting of a woman in distress

Depressive symptoms and arthritis linked to higher chance of work disability

Research has shown that people with arthritis face difficulties finding work and staying at work. Now, a new study finds that the risks of work disability are even greater for people with arthritis and depressive symptoms—people who account for one in eight working-age adults in the U.S. The IWH study, based on a nationally representative U.S. survey, has been published in Arthritis Care and Research

Read the study summary
Disability and Work in Canada conference logo

Call for proposals: Disability and Work in Canada 2020 Virtual Conference

The Disability and Work in Canada 2020 (DWC 2020) Conference will be held virtually this year over four days in late November and early December. Organizers are accepting proposals for different types of sessions from the disability community, businesses, unions, policy-makers, service providers and other interested parties. The call is open until Friday, September 25. 

Find out more