OHS Canada Magazine

Lakehead University gets $5.5 million to conduct research on workplace safety


April 18, 2022
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety research

Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., is conducting new research on reducing mental health stigma and designing injury prevention programs for vulnerable workers in the northwestern part of the province.

The Ontario government is investing $5.5 million in to the research, which is being led by the university’s Enhancing Prevention of Injury and Disability @ Work (EPID@Work) Research Institute.

“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.”

Identifying barriers

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.

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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.”

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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