Immigration and work disability in the Canadian context

May 2017: PWHS Co-Director Mieke Koehoorn has been awarded a Project Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, along with co-investigators Ute Bultmann, Chris McLeod, and Stephanie Premji.

Immigration defines our nation and, for the majority of immigrants and their families, work is a cornerstone to successful integration into Canadian life. Within the Canadian context, we know much about the health outcomes and the employment patterns of immigrants, but less about the impact of work on health, in particular on work disability experiences and the longer term health consequences of work disability. Emerging evidence suggests that immigrants to Canada have different experiences to Canadian-born workers. Longer disability durations for immigrant workers may be attributed to more severe work injuries in higher risk jobs; and to barriers navigating health care, employer and insurance benefits systems for optimal return to work outcomes. Evidence also suggests important differences in work disability experiences for women and young workers immigrating to Canada. Using a unique research opportunity that will merge immigration data with workers’ compensation and medical services data for the working population of British Columbia, the purpose of this study is to describe differences in work disability experiences, along the continuum from injury to rehabilitation to return-to-work and to longer term health outcomes, among immigrant workers compared to Canadian-born workers. Evidence of different experiences and of determinants of these differences, are necessary inputs for discussions and ultimately decisions by policy makers, employers and regulators/insurers to reduce barriers and health inequities, and improve return-to-work outcomes for all workers, including immigrants.

Learn more about the Project Grant

See the results of our previous work in this area: Immigration status and work disability duration

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