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The Experiences of Workers Who Do Not Successfully Return to Work Following a Work-Related Injury*

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 11:00 AM PT, 2:00 PM ET
Recorded in November 2019

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A significant minority of injured workers experience challenges returning to work after a work-related injury. While factors that hinder return-to-work (RTW) are well documented, the consequences of failing to successfully RTW remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of injured workers who do not successfully RTW following a work-related injury. Using a qualitative research approach, 11 injured workers and four service providers were interviewed. A constant comparative approach was used to identify key themes across worker and service provider experiences. The findings capture the challenging RTW experiences of injured workers and describe wide ranging negative impacts on their lives. This webinar will highlight the prevalent and persistent nature of the ongoing financial, health, and social needs of injured workers that are often downloaded to other social support systems when workers' compensation is no longer available. Beyond coordination between systems, there is a need to examine how the needs of this sub-group are being met, identify opportunities for innovation, and explore a better way forward.

You will learn:

  • The experiences of injured workers who do not successfully return to work after a workplace injury
  • The prevalent and persistent nature of ongoing financial, health and social needs of injured workers
  • The work disability systems available to injured workers who are no longer receiving workers' compensation but have not successfully returned to work.

Take-away messages

  • There is growing concerns about poverty among those who have sustained a work-related injury despite coverage and protection offered by workers' compensation systems.
  • Cost-cutting agendas within employer-sponsored disability benefits can lead to reduced benefits for many Canadians with disabilities and result in downloading costs to publicly funded social assistance programs.
  • Policies and practices within workers' compensation boards seem to contribute to professional deskilling, positioning injured workers for jobs that are unrelated to their skills and interests, and may not be available in the local job market.
​*This webinar will be followed by the WWDPI's 2018-2019 Annual General Meeting. Please stay online after the webinar has ended if you wish to attend. 

Rebecca Gewurtz, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University

Dr. Rebecca Gewurtz is an occupational therapist and associate professor in the School or Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Her research is focused on work disability policy, income security, employment supports among people living with mental illness and other episodic disabilities in Canada. She uses primarily qualitative methods in her research but has collaborated on projects using quantitative and mixed method approaches to examine the experiences of people with disabilities in Canada as they seek and retain employment, or apply for income replacement benefits.


Maureen Haan 

​President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

Maureen Haan is the President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work focuses on supporting Job Seekers with disabilities and Employers across Canada.​​

Partially funded by:​


Last Modified: 1/26/2018 3:58 PM