- Immigrant workers, particularly recent immigrants and those who arrived in Canada as refugees, who may have lower English proficiency and a lack of familiarity with Canadian social programs, face particular challenges after a work injury.
- We compared disability durations for work injuries in BC for recent immigrants (less than 10 years in Canada), established immigrants (more than 10 years in Canada), and Canadian-born workers, by linking accepted workers’ compensation claims in BC from 1995-2012 to permanent resident data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
- In a second analysis, we looked at similar linked data for 2009-2015, for three immigrant classifications: economic, family reunification, and refugee; and for four injury/illness groups: fractures, connective tissue, concussion, and back strain.
- From 1995-2012, both recent and established immigrants had longer work disability durations than Canadian-born workers, and the relationship between immigration status and disability duration was greater for younger immigrant workers than for older immigrant workers and for immigrant men than for immigrant women.
- From 2009-2015, immigrant workers experienced longer work disability durations compared to Canadian-born workers with the same injury. The largest differences were observed for family and refugee/other immigrant classification workers, and, in particular, for women within these classifications.
- Immigrant workers’ longer disability durations may be a result of more severe injuries or challenges navigating the workers’ compensation system with delays in seeking disability benefits and rehabilitation services.
- Differences by immigrant classification speak to vulnerabilities or inequities upon arrival in Canada that persist after entry to the workforce and warrant further investigation for early mitigation strategies.
- We are examining the provision of employment-related and rehabilitation services that are meant to provide access to safe work and minimize work disability. By linking immigration data with 1) workers’ compensation and medical services data; and 2) settlement service use for the working population of BC, we will examine the impact of rehabilitation and employment-related services on work and work disability experiences of immigrants compared to Canadian-born workers.
- Evidence of different experiences and of determinants of these differences will provide inputs for discussions and ultimately decisions by policy-makers, employers and regulators/insurers to reduce barriers and health inequities, and improve outcomes for all workers, including immigrants as potentially more vulnerable and precarious workers.
Immigrant status, gender and work disability duration: findings from a linked, retrospective cohort of workers’ compensation and immigration data from British Columbia, Canada
Saffari N, Senthanar S, Koehoorn M, McGrail K, McLeod C.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2021;11(12).
Differences in work disability duration for immigrants and Canadian-born workers in British Columbia, Canada
Senthanar S, Koehoorn M, Tamburic L, Premji S, Bültmann U, McLeod CB.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18(22):11794.
Resuming economic activities during COVID-19: A comparison of experiences for immigrant versus Canadian-born workers with a gendered perspective
Research brief based on analysis of the Statistics Canada Canadian Perspectives Survey, Series 3, addressing the impacts of COVID-19. July 2021.
Chen M, Senthanar S, Koehoorn M. Vancouver, BC: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; July 2021.
Impact of COVID-19 on employment and financial security of immigrant workers compared to Canadian-born workers
Research brief based on analysis of the Statistics Canada Canadian Perspectives Survey, Series 1, addressing the impacts of COVID-19. June 2020.
Vancouver: The University of British Columbia; 2016.
Research poster [192 KB]
Saffari N, Koehoorn M, McLeod C. Epidemiology in Occupational Health Conference (EPICOH). Barcelona, Spain: Sept. 5-8, 2016.