Ontario’s injured worker community have long recognized the need for research into workers’ compensation on topics they define as important and in which they also participate.
- focus on issues that affect injured workers and their families
- value lived experiences (qualitative data) in addition to statistical, quantitative data
- identify gaps in current research
These projects use the collaborative methodology and activist approach of participatory action research to empower the community. It is a model which equitably involves all partners, is grounded on experience and social history, emphasizes co-learning and knowledge sharing of the findings.
Examples include the 1999-2001 Injured Worker Participatory Research Project led by Bonnie Kirsh, and its “Making the System Better” report; the 2002 community research project initiated by Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers’ Support Group (“Connecting for Change: Injured Workers in Northwestern Ontario and the Effectiveness of Peer Support” ) and its 2008 “Poverty in Motion” study; the Injured Workers’ History Project (2005- ); Windsor’s Legacy Costs: Burden or Benefit? project; McMaster University & ONIWG 2010 “Knowledge Brokering with Injured Workers” study.
Education and workshops
Research findings and public education on workers’ compensation issues and injured workers’ rights are shared with injured workers, academics, policymakers and the public through:
- Injured Workers Speakers Schools , educational courses for leadership and self-advocacy, held around the province
- published reports and articles ( search the IWC library catalogue )
- digital audiovisual presentations
- live performances (such as “Easy Money” (on stigma research) or the Meredith play (on the key issues debated by employer and worker that determined Ontario’s workers’ compensation system)
- community forums and informal discussions at meetings organized by injured workers’ groups, community legal clinics, labour, RAACWI etc
- workshops and conferences, such as those held by the Bancroft Institute, Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups, Institute for Work and Health, Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health