Aware of the need for worker-centred research, Ontario's injured workers have long been active in community-based and participatory research initiatives.

Research groups

Bancroft Institute (for Studies on Workers' Compensation and Work Injury)
The Bancroft Institute (known to 1999 as the Injured Workers' Institute) was established in 1997 by the injured workers, advocates and academics to meet a need for education and research that focused on issues important to Ontario's workers.

Annual workshops have addressed such issues as the precarious employment of the contingent worker, myths and realities of early and safe return to work, participatory action research methods and tools.

In December 2003, the Bancroft Institute hosted a meeting of injured worker activists and researchers to explore joint research projects, leading to a formal partnership between the injured worker community and university researchers (see RAACWI below) and the Injured Workers' History Project.

Following the formal conclusion of the RAACWI project in 2012, the Bancroft Institute is actively continuing this collaboration. For further information on the Bancroft Institute or its 2013 Policy and Research Discussion series (listed in Meetings below), contact the Institute at 416-461-2411.

The Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI)
This community-based research initiative addresses the question: "How does Ontario's workers' compensation system help or hinder the protection of injured workers - immediately and over time - against negative economic, social, physical and mental health consequences of injury?"

With five-year funding (2006-2011) from the federal Community-University Research Alliance (CURA), this research program aimed to better understand the impact of work injury and how legislation, policies, programs and practices can best support injured workers. Go to for full details of the specific projects and to read their e-newsletter.

Partner organizations: Bancroft Institute, Injured Workers' Consultants, Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups, Ontario Federation of Labour, Institute for Work and Health, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers. Office of the Worker Adviser, McMaster University, University of Toronto. Other participating organizations: Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, Lakehead University, Toronto Injured Workers' Advocacy Group, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Trent University, United Steelworkers, University of Ottawa, York University.

Research Projects & Reports

ONIWG 2010 Injured Workers and Poverty Survey released: "Many losses, much hardship: the impact of work injury" - survey of persons who have a permanent impairment from work examines the perception among the injured worker community that more and more workers are facing poverty and document their experiences [summary]

Blue Sky project on stigma" RAAWCI and the WCB/WSIB join forces in working to combat stigmatization of injured workers and ensure they are treated by the Board with courtesy, dignity and respect. The facts about injured worker stigma, Oct. 2010" and the "Injured worker stigma framework - WSIB actions".

When your work causes harm (Oct. 2009) Dana Howse makes a presentation on a research survey at the Bright Lights meeting. Ever think about putting in a claim for workers' compensation? University of Toronto postgraduate research project seeks injured workers interested in participating. If you are willing to talk, in a confidential interview, about your work-related injury and disease (how you knew it was work-related, who you talked to about it, whether you filed a compensation claim and what that experience was like for you?)[Information sheet] [Flyer]

ONIWG 2009 Survey of Injured Workers in Ontario
⁄ First report of the poverty survey (June 2009) prepared by researcher Bonnie Heath issued: " Impacts of Workplace Injury" [pdf] ⁄ Key findings

"Poverty in Motion: the Rippling Effects"
Prepared for the Thunder Bay & District Inured Workers' Support Group by Karli Brotchie and Becky Casey (2008). Inspired by the 2005 Street Health study conducted in downtown Toronto that found 57% of those living on the street had suffered a workplace injury at some point in their lives, this pilot study explores the relationship between workplace injury and poverty in Thunder Bay.

Immigrant injured worker study
July 2008: The Institute for Work for Work & Health would like to hear from injured workers who had immigrated to Canada after 1990. [Details] | Full study report (2011)

"Connecting for Change: Injured Workers in Northwestern Ontario and the Effectiveness of Peer Support"
This impetus for this 2002 participatory research report came from "injured workers in Thunder Bay who noticed injured workers talking to and helping other injured workers. They wondered how often this occurred; its benefits as well as how it compared to other supports in the community..." The Thunder Bay Injured Workers' Group contacted researchers at Lakehead University, and together with support groups from Dryden, Kenora and the Canadian Injured Workers Alliance, created a community research team. [Summary]

Injured Worker Participatory Research Project: "Making the System Better: Injured Workers Speak Out..."
This 2001 study explored the experiences of more than 300 injured workers in southern Ontario and made recommendations for changes to the workers' compensation system. Under lead investigator Bonnie Kirsh of the Univerity of Toronto, most of the people who conducted the study were themselves injured workers who "along with a handful of university academics and representatives of worker organizations, identified the key issues to be explored, developed the survey and interview questions and related their findings to other relevant research on injured workers."


Bancroft Institute Research and Action Workshop (April 14-15, 2014): Has the WCB/WSIB abandoned its mandate? Keynote speaker: Jeffrey Hilgert. Download the flyer for the agenda and registration details.

Bancroft Institute Policy & Research Discussion series no. 2 (Oct. 10, 2013): "Unjust by Design". Keynote speaker: Ron Ellis discusses Canada's administrative justice system, one he proposes is in need of foundational, indeed revolutionary, structural reform. [Flyer]

Bancroft Institute Policy & Research Discussion series no. 1 (May 7, 2013): From disability to welfare Keynote speaker: John Stapleton examines disability income sources in Canada (including workers' compensation)and the growth of social assistance disability income expenditures. [Flyer]

RAACWI all-day Planning meeting (June 28, 2012) "How is our workers' compensation system working for injured workers?" Begin the planning for the next seven years.

RAACWI Community Forum: (June 12, 2012) Understanding the Poverty of Injured Workers in Ontario . Guest speakers: Bonnie Heath, York University & Peri Ballantyne, Trent University. [flyer]

RAACWI Community Forum: (Apr. 20, 2012) Looking to the future of workers' compensation adjudication . Guest speakers: Joan Eakin (University of Toronto) & Peter Heimler (KPMG)

RAACWI Community Forum : (Mar. 30, 2012) - "Repeat workers' compensation claims" ⁄ Jacob Etches (IWH) & "Return to work after occupational brain injury in Ontario" ⁄ Angela Colantonio (U of T and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute).

RAACWI 2011 Symposium on the Consequences of Work Injury (Nov. 17-18)
The symposium will present RAACWI’s latest research and activities on the topics of health, disability, and well-being following work injury. [program]

RAACWI Community Forum : (Sep. 29, 2011) Discussion topics - Work re-integration; Election time in Ontario [flyer] - Researcher Karin Maiwald discusses work-reintegration and and disability management practices involving the injured worker

RAACWI Community Forum : (June 13, 2011) The role of leadership in the Injured Worker Movement - what can we learn from the past to strengthen our movement in the future? Guest speaker: Robert Storey.

LOARC/RAACWI Teach-In : (Mar. 31, 2011) "Reviewing Prevention and Compensation - what's in it for workers?" Presentations and panels on worker representation and activism in health and safety prevention and compensation; how to learn from and involve injured workers in collective strategies for prevention; tools to achieve safer and healthier workplaces

RAACWI Community Forum : (Mar. 9, 2011) Injured Immigrant Worker Study - Speakers Iggy Kosny and Marni Lifshen present [click here for Powerpoint presentation] on their work with immigrant injured workers, followed by lots of discussion.

RAACWI Community Forum : (Jan. 11, 2011) WCB/WSIB Work Re-integration - new policies and practices explored through presentation, analysis and discussion. Speakers: Kevin Brown (OWA), Ellen McEachern (IWH)

RAACWI Community Forum: (Dec. 13, 2010) Working with the policy "bureaucracy": Insights of a former policy advisor.
Peter Smith will report on recent research on "no lost time claims".

RAACWI Community Forum: (Oct. 18, 2010) "The Economics of WCB/WSIB in 2010s : what does it mean for injured workers?" Guest speakers: Jim Standford (economist with CAW); Hugh Mackenzie (economist and research associate with CCPA).

RAACWI Community Forum: (June 18, 2010) "Adequacy of Benefits and Labour-market Earnings Post-Accident". Guest speaker Emile Tompa (RAACWI academic lead) will lead the discussion on whether workers compensation benefits cover wages lost after injury or disease.

Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health Conference, May 28-29, 2010. Hosted by the Institute for Work & Health, the theme for the conference is "Worker Health in a Changing World of Work." Among the topics addressed: stigma experienced by injured workers, health consequences of precarious employment, sustainable return to work, economic incentives/regulatory standards in occupational health protection, carcinogens in Ontario workplaces See the CARWH 2010 website for a summary of highlights.

RAACWI Community Forum: (May 20, 2010) on Labour Market Re-entry. Special guest Ellen McEachen presents her Labour Market Re-entry (LMR) research study.

RAACWI Community Forum: (Feb. 8, 2010) " The Auditor General's 2009 report - what it means for injured workers." Speakers from the injured workers' and labour movement and the A-G's office have been invited.

RAACWI Community Forum: (Jan. 14, 2010) "Knowledge mobilization - building public awareness through the media".

RAACWI Community Forum: (Nov. 30, 2009) "Deeming"for Injured Workers Explore legal strategies and work together to find solutions.

RAACWI Community Forum: (Oct. 2, 2009) "WSIB Finances - What does it mean for Injured Workers? What is the employer strategy?" John McKinnon will review the 2008 WSIB Annual Report and lead a discussion on how we might benefit from a more full understanding of the current situation

RAACWI Community Forum: (Apr. 23, 2009) "The Nature and consequences of stigma experienced by injured workers" - presentation by Bonnie Kirsh (University of Toronto) on her research, plus a Panel Discussion on overcoming depression and making a difference.

RAACWI Community Forum: (Mar. 13, 2009) "Occupational safety risk factors, work injury & compensation among recent immigrant workers in Canada - guest speaker Peter Smith, IWH researcher, presents some of his findings..

RAACWI Community Forum: (Jan. 29, 2009) "Social Activism and the Injured Worker" - Guest speaker Robert Storey, McMaster University, leads a discussion on how do you make political change? How did injured workers win ost of living increases, and an independent appeals tribunal? What do you think needs to be changed now? Can injured workers make history once again?

Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups: Fall Conference "Using Research to Make Change for the Injured Worker Community", October 17-19, 2008
Activists from injured worker groups, labour unions, legal clinics, and researchers learn how to make research reflect the issues of community injured worker groups and how to use that research to move forward an agenda for change within the workers' compensation system. [Papers and presentations]