Immigration status and work disability duration


Differences in disability duration: Recent and established immigrants compared to Canadian-born injured workers, BC, 1995-2012

In brief

  • Immigrant workers, particularly recent immigrants 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 compensated 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 to permanent resident data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • Both recent and established immigrants had longer work disability durations than Canadian-born workers, after adjusting for demographic and occupational characteristics.
  • 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.

Next steps

  • We are continuing to study differences in and the determinants of work disability experiences and longer-term health outcomes among immigrant workers compared to Canadian-born workers, employing data from a novel linkage of administrative data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to injury claims data from WorkSafeBC and health care data from the BC Ministry of Health.
  • 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.

Related publications

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.

Immigration Status and Work Disability Duration in British Columbia

Thesis
Saffari N.
Vancouver: The University of British Columbia; 2016.

Immigration Status and Work Disability Duration in British Columbia, Canada

Research poster [192 KB]
Saffari N, Koehoorn M, McLeod C. Epidemiology in Occupational Health Conference (EPICOH). Barcelona, Spain: Sept. 5-8, 2016.

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