Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic was saddened to learn of the death of Dr Katherine Lippel, Distinguished Research Chair in Occupational Health & Safety Law at the University of Ottawa, widely respected for her commitment to employment law that advanced workers’ rights and health equity.
She was a friend of IWC, a brilliant analyst of workers compensation law and practice. Her research and writing focused on systemic problems for injured workers and always pointed to action and solutions. She supported the community legal clinic system and was always available to share her knowledge with the injured worker movement. (John McKinnon)
As keynote speaker at the 2013 Meredith Conference, Dr Lippel asked and answered the question “100 Years of Workers’ Compensation: Are the Needs of Injured Workers Being Met in 2013?“, pointing to the need to depoliticize occupational injury and highlighting key issues still to be addressed.
We were fortunate to work with her in the Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI) project, and grateful for her participation in several policy & discussion sessions of the Bancroft Institute for Studies on Workers’ Compensation and Work Injury:
- Spring 2015: How characteristics of workers’ compensation systems affect doctors : a comparative study of Québec and Ontario [video]
- Dec. 2017: Precarious employment and return to work challenges in Québec and Ontario, report with Ellen MacEachen on an ongoing study
- Nov. 2020: Impact of COVID on injured workers and vulnerable people
Closing comments to the May 2019 National Symposium on Return to Work in a Changing World of Work capture her belief in the need to engage all communities in research that has demonstrably practical benefit and share those findings in language all parties understand.
More recently, an in-depth conversation with fellow RAACWI and Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy collaborator Steve Mantis touched on her long involvement with injured workers and unions since early days as a lawyer and as an academic (UQAM, U of Ottawa), working in environments that encouraged multidisciplinary research in partnership with community organizations. While discussing primarily areas of her research centred on workers’ compensation, Dr Lippel also comments briefly on what works in workers’ compensation systems (such as an independent appeal tribunal) and where the system still falls down (stigma of claimants).
Generous with her time and knowledge, she was always approachable – in the words of a fellow researcher: “I didn’t know her well, but she was one of those people who always treated you like she knew you well.”
Our sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues,
The Staff and Board of Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic
Selected publications and presentations:
2020 May 15. Strengths & Weaknesses of the use of Law to Protect Worker Mental Health. OHCOW May Day (webinar)
2012. Co-authored with Ellen MacEachen et al. “Workers’ compensation experience-rating rules and the danger to workers’ safety in the temporary work agency sector.” Policy & Practice in Health and Safety 10(1):77-95
2012. “Preserving workers’ dignity in workers’ compensation systems: an international perspective.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine 55(6):519-536
2011. Co-authored with Annette Sikka & Jill Hanley. “Access to health care and workers’ compensation for precarious migrants in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.” McGill Journal of Law & Health 5(2): 203-269
2008. Co-authored with Stephanie Premji & Karen Messing. “We work by the second!” Piecework remuneration and occupational health and safety from an ethnicity- and gender-sensitive perspective.” Pistes 10(1)
2007. Co-authored with Marie-Claire Lefebvre & Chantal Schmidt. Managing Claims or Caring for Claimants: Effects of the Compensation Process on the Health of Injured Workers. Ottawa: Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
- For a full list of Dr Lippel’s wide-ranging research on workers’ compensation, return to work & rehabilitation, occupational health & safety, women workers’ health, workplace mental stress, impacts of worker mobility and other issues go to Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy ; University of Ottawa Distinguished Research Chair on Occupational Health and Safety Law, and the On The Move Partnership websites.