July-September 2019

CRWDP E-Alert is issued by the CRWDP National Office. Our contact email addresses are and

Send us an email if you’d like to see your news, event or publication in the next CRWDP E-Alert issue.

Disability and Work in Canada (DWC) Initiative

  1. Registration for the third annual Disability & Work in Canada conference, DWC2019, is now open. Register on Eventbrite now to take advantage of the discounted Early Bird registration before October 20th. The conference will be held on December 4th and 5th at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre in Ottawa, ON. This conference will focus on the revised Pan-Canadian Strategy on Disability & Work and the next steps forward towards the implementation process. Details of the Conference and DWC activities are available at Subscribe to DWC distribution list here, to stay up-to-date on DWC Conference news.
  2. The DWC Engagement and Consultation stage is now complete, and the initiative’s current efforts are focused on revising the Disability & Work in Canada Strategy to include the rich feedback received from diverse stakeholder groups. Stayed tuned for more information on the revised Strategy and Consultation Report.Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and consultations on the DWC draft Canadian Strategy on Disability and Work! Your participation has helped to ensure that your voice is heard and that the revised strategy will be relevant to you and your community.

Upcoming CRWDP and Partners’ Events

  1. CRWDP NL Cluster Meeting - Early 2020. SafetyNet is in the initial stages of organizing the next CRWDP NL Cluster meeting in early 2020. We will use this event as a forum to communicate and build on the momentum of knowledge and ideas shared at the upcoming Disability and Work in Canada 2019 Conference with the NL Cluster and other stakeholders. Stay tuned for more information about the event.
  2. CRWDP ON Cluster Meeting will be held on November 19th, 2019 at the Friend’s House (60 Lowther Avenue Toronto Ontario M5R 1C7). At this meeting, participants will continue the discussions begun in November 2018 and at the Disability & Work in Canada consultation meetings in May 2019. More information will be provided by email to CRWDP Ontario Cluster members and will be published on CRWDP website. Contact Rachael Dempsey at if you have any questions.
  3. Save the date: Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic (IWC) Anniversary Event. An evening gathering “Celebrating the past, fighting for the future” will be held in Toronto on November 22nd. It will be a spirited night of memories, music, and refreshments.

CRWDP and Partners’ Past Events

  1. Funded by the Accelerator Fund of the Office of Public Engagement (Memorial University), SafetyNet supported the Leadership Roundtable on “What makes return-to-work work” held on September 23, 2019. Led by Dr. Kim Cullen, a new faculty member with the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation and Dr. Stephen Bornstein, a longstanding faculty member and co-lead of the CRWDP NL cluster, the Roundtable brought approximately 40 key NL leaders together to discuss current efforts to support return to work in NL and what could be done to improve outcomes.  Dr. Dana Howse, former CRWDP postdoctoral fellow, presented her work on “(Im)mobility and return to work: Challenges related to policy and place.” This is a first step in this developing research program, which potentially builds on previous CRWDP work on disability policy, and with the goal to both identify research needs and to engage community stakeholders.
  2. Bancroft Institute held a session to discuss the recently published book, Sick and Tired: Health and Safety Inequalities by Stephanie Premji (Editor). More information about the event is available on the Bancroft Institute website.

Operations News

  1. We extend our warm welcome to Andrea Jones, a CRWDP Student Fellow, who accepted the offer to become the new CRWDP British Columbia Cluster Coordinator. In this new role, Andrea supports work disability policy research development and translation, as well as engagement with community and academic partners. You can contact Andrea by email at
  2. We are pleased to welcome a new CRWDP partner, the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources (CIRHR) at the University of Toronto,  and a new CRWDP Co-Investigator Dr. Rafael Gomez, an Associate Professor and the Director of CIRHR.

Students and New Researchers News

  1. Congratulations to the students and new researchers who have been awarded CRWDP funding:
  2. Dan Samosh generously volunteered to oversee the CRWDP Student/New Researcher webinar series. Thank you, Dan!
  3. Update from Dr. Sally A. Kimpson. Sally completed her postdoctoral fellowship with the BC Cluster of CRWDP in June 2019, with the submission of her research report entitled: Mapping the Canadian Work Disability Policy System (Alberta and B.C). Dr. John Calvert (SFU) and Dr. Mieke Koehoorn (UBC) were co-researchers on this CRWDP seed grant funded project. Interviews with work disabled participants reveal that individuals who become work disabled have significant challenges accessing and navigating complex disability benefit programs, often without assistance and necessary information, and that this experience is more complicated and difficult than documented procedures suggest. The study found little, if any, correspondence between different programs that comprise British Columbia and Alberta work disability income support systems. The report can be downloaded from the CRWDP website: Dr. Kimpson is seeking employment in disability research and expanding her self-employed practice as a health and disability advocate and navigator. Those seeking assistance navigating health and other systems can contact her via her website:
  4. Update from Dr. Dana Howse. Dana is a CRWDP Post-Doctoral Fellow. She has recently completed phase two activities of her postdoctoral work with CRWDP. She spent three weeks in Ottawa in May 2019 where she received training in classic legal analysis with Katherine Lippel. Dana is currently completing the analyses of interview and document data and preparing her final report for CRWDP, as well as several manuscripts. Dana’s most recent presentations include:
    • (Im)mobility and return to work: Challenges related to policy and place. Presentation to the Return-to-Work Roundtable: “What Makes Return to Work Work?” Signal Hill Campus, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, September 23, 2019.
    • Work mobility with a physical disability: reflections on research with injured workers. Panel remarks at the Disability and Work in Canada Atlantic Engagement Session, The Learning Centre, St. John’s, NL, June 18, 2019.
    • Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP) New Researcher Webinar Series, March 19, 2019 (doctoral research)
  5. Consultation with WorkSafeBC stakeholders to understand CRWDP student research findings and implications. On July 8th 2019, Ms. Andrea Jones (BC Cluster Coordinator and Student Fellow) and Dr. Mieke Koehoorn ( BC Cluster lead) met with a stakeholder group consisting of senior WorkSafeBC employees specialized in the areas of mental health and disability management to discuss Ms. Jones’ thesis findings on anxiety and depression disorders among workers with musculoskeletal injury. Stakeholders provided input on the implications of these findings for work disability policy and practice.
  6. CRWDP Student/New Researcher Webinars is a great way for students and new researchers to promote their research, get advice from those in the CRWDP network and beyond, and for those just starting up with the centre, to build connections with peers and partners across Canada. Contact Dan Samosh at to schedule your presentation!
  7. Callout to Students/New Researchers: Send us your story! Share with us the details of how your participation in CRWDP has helped you build your networks, advance your research or other work disability policy activities, and start your career. Send us your story in writing or as a short video to be published on the CRWDP website.

CRWDP Publications and Resources

  1. A new report from a CRWDP seed grant project is available on our website:​ A policy analysis of occupational stress injuries in two Atlantic Provinces, by Rose Ricciardelli, Alan Hall, Daniella Simas-Medeiros and Kathleen Sitter​. An article based on this research has been published: Hall, A., Ricciardelli, R., Sitter, K., Simas-Medeiros, D., deBoer, C., & Small, S. (2019). Occupational Stress Injuries in Two Atlantic Provinces: A Policy Analysis. Canadian Public Policy. 44(4): 384-399. doi: /10.3138/cpp.2017-071. You can find this and other reports at CRWDP Reports web-page.
  2. (The English translation follows) Depuis août 2019, Normand Boucher (responsable du regroupement de Québec du CRPIP) supporte les activités du Comité consultatif personnes handicapées (CCPH) situé au Québec. La mission du Comité est de soutenir l’intégration, le maintien et le retour au travail des personnes ayant des incapacités par la production d’avis à l’intention de la Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (CPMT), du Ministère de l’Emploi et de la solidarité sociale (MTESS) et d’Emploi-Québec (EQ).​ Depuis 2018 et jusqu’en 2020, les membres du CCPH se sont fixé l’objectif de dresser un portrait des personnes ayant des incapacités sur le marché du travail. Quatre documents ont été produit dans cette visée, comprenant un lexique des termes importants associés aux personnes ayant des incapacités et à leur situation; une recension des statistiques récentes en lien avec l’emploi chez les personnes ayant des incapacités; une recension des écrits concernant les services et programmes destinés aux chercheurs d’emplois et une recension des écrits portant sur les obstacles rencontrés par les personnes sur le marché de l’emploi, les facteurs facilitant et les pistes de solution à mettre en place afin de faciliter la recherche et le maintien au travail de ces personnes.

Since August, Normand Boucher (CRWDP QC Cluster Lead) is supporting the research activities of the new Comité Consultatif personnes handicapées (Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, CCPH) in Québec. The mission of the Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities is to support integration, retention and return-to-work of persons with disabilities through consultations with la Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (The Commission of Labour Market Partners, CPMT) and le Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, MTESS). Over 2018-2020, CCPH members are working to develop the “portrait of people with disabilities in the labor market” that includes a review of the terminology that is used to describe persons with disabilities and their situation; available statistics on employment of persons with disabilities; literature on services and programs available to persons with disabilities, and literature on barriers faced by people in the labour market, facilitating factors and possible solutions to support their job search and employment retention. A summary of this initiative is available on CCPH website (French only). A knowledge mobilization event, for committee members, is in preparation.

  1. Data development for work disability research. In September 2019 members of the BC Cluster including Dr. Mieke Koehoorn (BC Cluster lead), Ms. Andrea Jones (BC Cluster Coordinator and student fellow), and Dr. Esther Maas (CRWDP new researcher) met with WorkSafeBC stakeholders for preliminary discussions to understand additional BC administrative claims data (beyond that currently available via Population Data BC) potentially available for research on work-related injuries and return to work characteristics/outcomes. Improving access to administrative data in this area, including the breadth, richness, and completeness of the available variables, will allow researchers to examine a wider range research questions and confront fewer methodological limitations. This will expand future opportunities for work disability research with a focus on work-related health issues. Efforts to improve access are ongoing and follow up meetings are planned for Fall 2019.

Community and Partner News

  1. News from our partner Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA). Join us in celebrating World Arthritis Day (WAD) by participating in an international Twitter Chat on #arthritisatwork. The chat will be held on October 12 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and will be co-hosted by UK-based patient advocate Simon Stones. The Twitter Chat will be based on the workplace wisdom of people living with arthritis. It will focus on how everyone can better support people with arthritis at work. Read more about the questions on CAPA website!
  2. Check out the new issue of Community Conversations by Steve Mantis. This issue features an interview with Andy King, Researcher in Residence at McMaster University and retired United Steelworkers staffer focusing on Health, Safety & Environment. You can find links to this and some of the earlier Community Conversation issues on the CRWDP website.
  3. Canadian Disability Policy Alliance & Canadian Disability Participation Project: Questions for Federal Candidates. As the 2019 Canadian federal election approaches (October 21), where are disability issues in the priorities of candidates in your area? Over 100 disability organizations across the country responded to a survey sent out recently, asking: “What do you want to hear from candidates in the 2019 election?” Their responses were collated to form a list of questions to help voters seek the information they need about disability issues and disability policy. Click here to see the full list.
  4. Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to examine the workers’ compensation board practice deeming. Read The Star article “Ontario injured worker advocates take discrimination concerns to United Nations” by Sara Mojtehedzadeh (Sept 4, 2019).

News from Our Partner, the Institute for Work & Health (IWH)

  1. New IWH video: Supervisor’s response to work injury matters to return to work 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 Institute for Work & Health (IWH) 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. Watch and share the video
  2. 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, such as depression, arthritis, HIV/AIDs, multiples sclerosis and more. IWH launched a website today to share information about the ACED project, the partners involved, and the findings and tools as they become available. The ACED website also includes information on how stakeholders can take part, including a call for workers with episodic disabilities to help pilot-test a tool to foster discussion and problem-solving with supervisors and managers about needs for workplace supports. Go to the ACED website or Learn more about the pilot test.
  3. Despite pain and fatigue, older workers with chronic conditions in no hurry to retire: study. Having a health condition or a chronic disease can be challenging for older workers, but it doesn’t necessarily decrease their intention to work or hasten their retirement. According to an IWH study on retirement expectations, with appropriate policies and practices, older workers with health limitations can be supported to remain active in the labour force.  Read about the findings.
  4. IWH Speaker Series presentation: Trends in depression and anxiety among Canadian labour force participants (2000-2016). Despite much effort aimed at improving the mental health of Canadians, we still know little about the prevalence of two common mental health conditions across the working population. In an October 22 IWH Speaker Series presentation, IWH Research Associate Kathleen Dobson shares her doctoral research exploring trends in depression and anxiety disorders in working age Canadians, from 2000 to 2016. She also highlights challenges in creating high-quality population-based evidence about the labour force’s mental health. Sign up to attend.

Resources and Opportunities

  1. Future Skills Council Summary of Preliminary Engagement. This report is a summary of the information gathering exercise undertaken by members of the Future Skills Council. It discusses the opportunities and challenges related to future skills that surfaced in discussions with a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders.
  2. Check out the new study by Clarke Wilson and Mary Ann McColl, comparing statutory environments and activity participation of people with disabilities in Canada and the USA. The full article is openly available online:​ Wilson C and McColl MA (2019) Comparing integration and inclusion between Canadians and Americans with disabilities: Evidence from national surveys of time use. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 8(3).
  3. CASDO Board announcement. On August 14, 2019, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, announced the appointments of Philip Rizcallah as Chief Executive Officer, Paul Claude Bérubé as Chair, and Mary Reid as Vice Chair of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO). Eight members of the board of directors were also named. All appointments are effective as of August 26, 2019.
  4. The British Columbia Government launches public consultation on "Accessibility and Inclusion", to seek public input on legislation which will help to create a barrier-free BC. Consultations extend through November 29, 2019. You can participate through one of the consultation channels identified in the government link:
  5. Canadian Association for Community Living (CALC) is calling for a National Disability Action Plan. This plan calls for action to be taken in the areas of health, employment and economic security, inclusive housing, and the Accessible Canada Act.
  6. Job Opportunity. The School of Health Policy and Management, York University, is seeking applications for a Full-time Professorial Stream appointment in the discipline of Critical Disabilities: Transnationalism, Human Rights, Black Disability Studies, with an excepted start date of July 1, 2020. Application deadline is November 1, 2019.

Past CRWDP E-Alerts are available to download from CRWDP website.

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