Researching impacts of injury on the worker
The Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI) was a 5-year (2006-2011) community-based research project funded by the federal Community-University Research Alliance (CURA). The initiative aimed to answer 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 and how legislation, policies, programs and practices can best support injured workers?
Community – university collaboration
Community lead was injured worker activist, Steve Mantis (ONIWG, Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers’ Support Group); academic lead Emile Tompa (Institute for Work and Health). Partner organizations: Bancroft Institute, Injured Workers’ Consultants, Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups, Ontario Federation of Labour, Institute for Work & 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.
The many research projects undertaken included an anti-stigma initiative with the WSIB. In addition to supporting the Injured Workers’ Speakers School, RAACWI built on the work undertaken by Dr Robert Storey and the Injured Workers’ History Project team.
The Alliance shared research findings through publications and reports, conference presentations, community forums and the play “Easy Money”.
Many of the collaborations have been continued by the Bancroft Institute. Archives of the RAACWI Initiative are held by Injured Workers’ Consultants (now, Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic).
Informal community forums or conferences explored issues through presentations on recent research, analysis, discussion (and humour):
- June 28, 2012: RAACWI all-day Planning meeting. How is workers’ compensation system working for injured workers? – planning for the next seven years.
- June 12, 2012: Community Forum: Understanding the Poverty of Injured Workers in Ontario. Guest speakers: Bonnie Heath, York University & Peri Ballantyne, Trent University.
- April 20, 2012: Community Forum: Looking to the Future of Workers’ Compensation Adjudication. Guest speakers: Joan Eakin (University of Toronto) & Peter Heimler (KPMG)
- March 30, 2012: Community Forum: Repeat Workers’ Compensation Claims / Jacob Etches (IWH); Return to Work after Occupational Brain Injury in Ontario / Angela Colantonio (University of Toronto and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute) [view presentation]
- November 17-18, 2011: RAACWI 2011 Symposium on the Consequences of Work Injury [program]
- September 29, 2011: Community Forum: Discussion topics – Work re-integration and Disability Management Practices. Guest speaker: Karin Maiwald; Election time in Ontario
- June 13, 2011: Community Forum: 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 (McMaster University)
- May 9, 2011: Community Forum: Injured Immigrant Worker Study. Guest speakers: IWH researchers Iggy Kosny and Marni Lifshen [view presentation]
- March 31, 2011: LOARC/RAACWI Teach-In: 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)
- January 11, 2011: Community Forum: New WCB/WSIB Work Re-integration Policies. Guest speakers: Kevin Brown (OWA), Ellen MacEachen (IWH) – new policies and practices explored
- December 13, 2010: Community Forum: Working with the Policy “Bureaucracy” – Insights of a Former Policy Advisor. Guest speaker Peter Smith reports on recent research on “lost time claims.”
- October 18, 2010: Community Forum: The Economics of WCB/WSIB in 2010s -What does it Mean for Injured Workers? Guest speakers: Economists Jim Standford (CAW) and Hugh Mackenzie (CCPA); McQuestin Community Legal Services lawyer Andrew Bome
- June 18, 2010: Community Forum: Adequacy of Benefits and Labour-market Earnings Post-Accident. Guest speaker: Emile Tompa (RAACWI academic lead) chairs the discussion on poverty and whether workers compensation benefits cover wages lost after injury or disease
- May 20, 2010: Community Forum: Labour Market Re-entry. Guest speaker: Ellen MacEachen (University of Toronto)on her recent research
- March 23, 2010: Community Forum: A Closer Look at the WSIB Study of Locked-In Award Recipients (“long-duration” claims)
- February 8, 2010: Community Forum: 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 were invited.
- January 14, 2010: Community Forum: Knowledge Mobilization – Building Public Awareness through the Media. Guest speaker: John McGrath (CBC Queen’s Park reporter)
- November 30, 2009: Community Forum: Deeming for Injured Workers – exploring legal strategies and working together to find solutions. Guest speakers: Bonnie Heath; community legal clinic advocates
- October 2, 3009: Community Forum: WSIB Finances – What does it Mean for Injured Workers? What is the Employer Strategy? John McKinnon (IWC) reviews the 2008 WSIB Annual Report and leads a discussion on how to benefit from a fuller understanding of the current situation
- May 22, 2009: Symposium on the Consequences of Work Injury [program]
- April 23, 2009: Community Forum: The Nature and Consequences of Stigma Experienced by Injured Workers. Guest speaker: Bonnie Kirsh (University of Toronto) [view presentation]; Panel discussion on overcoming depression and making a difference.
- March 13, 2009: Community Forum: Occupational Safety Risk Factors, Work Injury and Compensation among Recent Immigrant Workers in Canada. Guest speaker: Peter Smith (IWH)
- February 12, 2009: Community Forum: WSIB Front Line Worker Study. Guest speaker: Joan Eakin
- January 29, 2009: Community Forum: Social Activism and the Injured Worker. Guest speaker: Robert Storey (McMaster University)
- December 4, 2008: Community Forum: Understanding the Political Process and Using our Knowledge to Make Change – analyze the government’s response to our demands; develop a written response to the Minister of Labour; document the poverty of injured workers.
- November 6, 2008 : Using Research for Change. What RAACWI has achieved so far and plans for the future
- May 16, 2008: Community Forum: Using Research for Change – Overview of the Political Process – from idea to law to policy to practice.
- April 10, 2008: Community Forum: “Hurt versus Harm” Approach in Return to Work – a Social Reconceptualisation using Injured Worker Experience. Guest speaker: Ellen MacEachen ; Experience Rating – Connecting the Dots / Marion Endicott (IWC)
- February 7 & March 6, 2008: Community Forum: Study of the WCB/WSIB’s Annual Report 2006 – what’s included, who is it reporting to? What information does it seek to provide? What more would we like to see?