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Ontario Working for Workers by Investing Over $5 Million in Health and Safety Research at Lakehead

Funding will help improve workplace safety, prevent injuries and reduce mental health stigma.

PHOTO: Stock
THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government is working for workers by investing $5.5 million in ground-breaking workplace health and safety research led by the Enhancing Prevention of Injury and Disability @ Work (EPID@Work) Research Institute at Lakehead University. The funding will contribute to the Institute’s leading research in several key areas including, reducing mental health stigma in the workplace and designing injury prevention programs for vulnerable workers in Northwestern Ontario.

“Every worker in Northern Ontario should feel safe and supported on the job, and they deserve to come home safe to their loved ones after a hard day’s work,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “Our government is working for workers by proudly investing in the EPID@Work Research Institute at Lakehead University so they can deliver solutions that will create lasting improvements to worker safety.”

Research shows vulnerable workers are often at increased risk of workplace injury as they face challenges accessing conventional workplace health and safety resources and training. EPID@Work’s research will aim to identify and address these barriers.

As part of this five-year project, the EPID@Work Research Institute will help employers in Northern Ontario reduce mental health stigma in their workplaces, improve support for workers, and ensure managers have the tools for the early identification of mental health symptoms. The funding will also contribute to ongoing research to understand Indigenous workers’ experiences in Northern Ontario workplaces to provide them with better mental health support and prevent injuries on the job.

“Lakehead University is excited for the significant, long-term investment by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in Dr. Kristman’s research and the EPID@Work Research Center,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, President and Vice-Chancellor of Lakehead University. “Focussing on Northern Ontario’s workforce, with emphasis on Indigenous communities and equity seeking groups, the Center will conduct high-quality, community-based, transdisciplinary research in the areas of work-related injury, both physical and mental, and disability prevention.”

This investment is part of the government’s plan to build a future where Ontario is the best place to live, work and raise a family. This includes recently passing new legislation that provides historic new protections for workers, as well as releasing the province’s five-year health and safety strategy, Prevention Works.

Quick Facts

➟ Based out of Lakehead University, the EPID@Work Research Institute was established in 2018 and conducts community-based research in the areas of work injury and disability prevention.

➟ According to the Association of Worker’s Compensation Boards of Canada, Ontario’s occupational health and safety record is among the best in Canada, with the province achieving the lowest rate of work time lost to injury among any province or territory since 2009.

➟ Ontario is working with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to review the province’s occupational illness system to drive improvements in how workplace illness and disease are prevented, identified and addressed, and ensure that worker and employer needs are supported.

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