New Canadian standard available for
work disability prevention management systems

Webinar Series on the Work Disability Management System Standard (CSA Z1011)

August 11, 2020 - Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness, and Performance (CISWP), Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP), and Canadian Standards Associations (CSA Group) have partnered together to provide a webinar series on the Work Disability Management System Standard (CSA Z1011).

Register in advance for these free webinars

Read an article about the Workplace Disability Management System Standard in the OOHNA Journal | Spring/Summer 2020 issue.

May 29, 2020 (Toronto, Ont.) - Read an article about the Workplace Disability Management System Standard (see Part 2, pg. 14 - 16) in the OOHNA Journal | Spring/Summer 2020 issue.

Vu U, Moser C. Strategy and Standard: Two recent developments in disability and work. OOHNA Journal | Spring/Summer 2020. Volume 39(1), p.13-16. 

Announcing the new CSA Z1011 Standard, Work Disability Management System

May 25, 2020 (Toronto, Ont.) - CSA Group is pleased to announce a new addition to its Z45001/Z1000 suite of OHS management standards – CSA Z1011:20, Work disability management system. This important new document is the first National Standard on the subject of occupational disability management. It is designed to help organizations to effectively manage disability in the workplace, and to develop a Work Disability Management (WDM) System, or to improve an existing WDM System. The continual improvement cycle of this standard is comprised of four modules, commonly known as: Plan – Do – Check – Act. The cycle is undertaken on a periodic basis, with new management system targets being identified, implemented, evaluated, and assessed each cycle, following the successful achievement of previously set targets. Ultimately, a well-functioning WDM System will ensure effective management of workers’ health and other accommodation needs over the employment lifecycle that might otherwise compromise their work engagement and an organization’s productivity. It should be noted, however, that CSA Z1011 is not a standard on medical rehabilitation or claims management.

CSA Z1011 features:

1. Integration with CSA Group standards on Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (Z45001), Workplace Ergonomics (Z412, Z1004), Psychological Health & Safety (Z1003, Z1003.), Hearing Loss Prevention (Z94.2, Z1007), and Prevention of Workplace Impairment (Z1008)
2. Provides a business case for the establishment of a WDM System
3. Intended for use by organizations of all sizes and all occupational sectors
4. Scope includes:​
       a. needs assessment and development of a WDM System
       b. assignment of key WDM responsibilities (both internal and external) - positions
           WDM as a joint responsibility of management, workers, and worker
       c. full employment trajectory for hiring, on-boarding, and work accommodation for
           people with disabilities
       d. evaluation of long-term health and well-being needs of workers
5. Advocates
       a. an evidence-informed, data-driven approach to WDM System development
       b. inclusion and accessibility to promote engagement and belonging
       c. a biopsychosocial (holistic) approach to WDM
6. Takes a “worker-centred, supportive approach” for handling each disability case
7. Promotes planning for work accommodation and timely return to work
8. Addresses stay-at-work disability management
9. Promotes case management principles
10. Recognizes needs for tailored program depending on available internal and external expertise
11. Respects Federal, Provincial, and Territorial legislation (regulations)
12. Respects Privacy legislation (medical confidentiality) and Human Rights codes
13. Provides guidance on contracting of external experts as part of a WDM System
14. Offers guidance on interface between medical professionals, organization management, and benefits providers
15. Defines terms commonly used in a WDM System
16. Specifies requirements for monitoring, evaluation, and continual improvement of a WDM System (e.g., period reviews, audits, and updates)
17. Provides a number of example case studies
18. Based on resource materials from the Canadian Society of Professionals in Disability Management (CSPDM), National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR), Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), National Case Management Network (NCMN), and International Labour Organization (ILO)

Please submit any comments or questions about CSA Z1011:20 to the CSA Group Standards Project Manager, Lina Lopez, at

CSA Group now seeking public input in anticipation of 2020 release

October 17, 2019 (Toronto, Ont.)—A proposed new national standard from CSA Group on work disability prevention management systems is now open for public review and feedback, with the final publication of the standard expected in the spring of 2020. The director of the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP), Dr. Emile Tompa, chaired the CSA Group Technical Committee behind the standard.

To be known as CSA Z1011, Workplace Disability Management System, the draft standard offers standards of excellence and guidelines to help organizations in the hiring, onboarding, retention, management and return to work of people with occupational and non-occupational disabilities. As such, it will be a companion to CSA Group’s current management standards on quality, environment, workplace health and safety and risk management systems.

An estimated 22 per cent of adults in Canada—more than 6.2 million individuals—have a disability (Statistics Canada, 2017). And every year, tens of thousands of Canadians become disabled and are unable to work, thereby becoming excluded from the numerous health advantages of workforce participation. The costs of disability take a staggering toll on workers and their families, as well as on employers and taxpayers. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the economic burden due to disabilities in Canada is estimated to be between 6.7% to 8.7% of the country’s GDP (ILO, 2009)

“Creating a national standard for work disability management systems is key to improving work disability management practices and reducing the economic burden of work disability in Canada,” says Tompa, a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where CRWDP is headquartered.

Tompa and Dr. Amin Yazdani, vice-chair of the CSA 2011 Technical Committee and director of the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College, led the research that got the CSA Group standard-development process off the ground. Additional experts and collaborators engaged in the development of the CSA Z1011 standard included Dr. David Brown, also a vice-chair of the CSA 2011 Technical Committee and medical director at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), along with government bodies, health and safety organizations, mental health associations, injured worker and disability communities, and employer and worker representatives.

Currently, no national or international standard is available to assist Canadian employers in achieving excellence in their work disability management systems—a human resources and occupational health and safety issue that is relevant to all organizations in all sectors of the economy, whether large or small, for-profit or not-for- profit, private or public.

“Since this is the first standard of its kind not only in Canada, but also in the world, Canada will be supporting the development and uptake of an innovative solution to the growing problem of work disability,” says Yazdani. “The project will position Canada as a national and global leader in this area.”

The standard, once implemented, is expected to help businesses achieve fewer workplace injury recurrences, fewer long-term work-related disabilities, fewer work disability absences, lower workers' compensation costs, improved operational performance, and increased worker engagement and productivity—putting Canadian workplaces at an advantage in the competitive, global economy.

CSA Group is accepting feedback on the draft CSA Z1011 standard until December 8, 2019. To read the draft standard and provide feedback, go to: If you do not have an account already with CSA Group, you will need to create one to login, review the draft and provide feedback.


To arrange an interview with Dr. Emile Tompa or for more information, contact:

Cindy Moser
Communications Director
Institute for Work & Health
416-927-2027, ext. 2183
705-872-1939 (cell)


Uyen Vu
Communications Associate
Institute for Work & Health
613-979-7742 (cell)


The Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy is an applied research organization hosted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). CRWDP research addresses challenges associated with disability support program coordination and complexity; identifies relevant and favourable alternative approaches to system design and service provision; mobilizes knowledge developed within and outside of the initiative to inform workplace and system-level policy; and builds capacity for research and knowledge mobilization on the topic of work disability policy and labour-market engagement of people with disabilities. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, CRWDP is a pan-Canadian initiative with 60-plus academics and 60-plus partners across the country who work on policy issues at the local, provincial, national and international levels. IWH is a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization that promotes, protects and improves the safety and health of working people by conducting actionable research that is valued by employers, workers and policy-makers.


The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance is a research institute hosted at Conestoga College’s School of Business. As an applied research institute, CISWP’s mission is to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice and strengthening workforce development—all in collaboration with stakeholders. CISWP conducts cutting-edge transdisciplinary research to address knowledge gaps and develop evidence-informed products, tools, and services to advance stakeholders’ capacity. CISWP engages and works with employers, not-for-profits, labour/unions, academics, service providers, policy-makers and practitioners to develop, promote and implement effective and sustainable solutions. Conestoga College, based in Kitchener, Ont., is a leader in polytechnic education currently serving approximately 16,500 students.

CRE-MSD and CRWDP Team up with CSA to Develop a Canadian Standard for a Work Disability Prevention Management System

Every year, tens of thousands of Canadians become temporarily or permanently work disabled, seriously compromising their participation in the paid labour force and thereby becoming excluded from the numerous health advantages of workforce participation. According to 2012 figures, about one in 10 Canadians of working age live with some form of disability—whether physical or mental, chronic or acute, episodic or temporary, work-related or otherwise. Many of these individuals face tremendous barriers getting into or staying in the labour market due to their health condition or impairment. According to some estimates, about 800,000 Canadians with disabilities—about half of whom have a post-secondary education—are currently unemployed despite being able and willing to work. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group, in collaboration with Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) and the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP) have engaged multiple stakeholders to develop best practices in the field of work disability prevention management in the form of a national standard for use by organizations to systematically manage work disability prevention efforts, including their return to work policies and programs and the recruitment and retention of workers with disabilities.
In June 2016, the three organizations co-hosted a webinar to inform stakeholders about plans to go forward with the development of a Canadian Standard for a Work Disability Prevention Management System (WDP-MS). A recording of the launch is available at the CSA Communities of Interest site. The webinar had more than 500 registrants, providing a good indication of the importance for developing a standard in this area.
“The standard will be based on current research evidence, successful practices in the field, and the viewpoints from stakeholders—employers, workers and worker representatives, injured workers and persons with disabilities, clinicians, workers’ compensation agencies, insurance companies, policy maker and researchers” notes Amin Yazdani, a CRWDP Collaborator and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. “We have a core team of academics and policy experts helping gather the evidence base” adds Emile Tompa, CRWDP’s co-director. Yazdani and Tompa are spearheading the initiative on behalf of CRE-MSD and CRWDP.
The focus of this initiative is to set out requirements for a comprehensive work disability prevention management system. A management system is a framework that includes detailed step-by-step methods for developing and maintaining policies, procedures and processes to ensure an organization is able to achieve its goals and objectives on an ongoing basis. The WDP-MS standard will be designed to integrate with other CSA management systems, including the CSA Z1000 Occupational Health and Safety Management System, the CSA Z1003 on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and CSA Z1004 on Workplace Ergonomics. It will also be integratable into ISO standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management system and ISO 45001, the new health and safety management system standard. In addition to developing this national Standard, the team plans to develop an implementation guide to support the introduction of the standard in organizations of different sizes and in different sectors.
The primary beneficiaries of a published standard are workers in the Canada’s labour force of 18 million and Canadian employers, both public and private. Canada will be the first country in the world to have a national standard for a work disability prevention management system.

Relevant links

  1. Applied Health Sciences News To You, Fall, 2016 (University of Waterloo). To access it, click here.
  2. Work Disability Prevention Management System Standard Development Project. Webcast presentation given on behalf of the Canadian Standards Association to launch the development of a new standard. June 16, 2016. Click here to see the details.
  3. At Work, Institute for Work & Health Newsletter, Fall 2016, page 6.
  4. Developing new standards for managing workplace disability. Rehab & Community Care: BCS Communications (Toronto, Ont.), Vol. 26, No. 1, Spring 2017, pp. 14-16 [article in digital and print magazine on CRWDP’s involvement in creating national disability management standard; picks up article from Fall 2016 issue of At Work]. Available at:{"page":0,"issue_id":396322}
  5. To access the recorded Webinar at the CSA Community (registration is quick and free):
  6. Work Disability Prevention Management System: A proposal for a national standard to Canadian Standard Association (CSA). Click here to access the proposal