OHS Canada Magazine

Canadian safety institute celebrates 1-year anniversary

CISWP efforts meant to improve health, productivity of workforce


On a global scale, employers face several challenges in developing a sustainable, healthy, and productive workforce. Workplace injury rates and their economic and societal costs are very high.

It remains salient that tools and technology for hazard identification, risk assessment and risk mitigation as part of a prevention program are tailored towards organizations who have varied time, personnel and financial resources.

For instance, small businesses may lack the knowledge of manual material handling and resulting injuries, and often have limited time and budget to address these issues.

Hence, it is essential to create cost-effective and scalable solutions that fit the complexity of different organizations.

Towards global leadership

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance (CISWP) at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning was launched in the May of 2019.

Our mission is to conduct impactful and novel applied research to improve the sustainability, productivity, performance and working conditions of the Canadian workforce.

Hosted at the School of Business, CISWP’s vision is to position Canada as a global leader in empowering businesses to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing competitive economy.

CISWP adopts a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach to build capacity for productive and sustainable work. Our research focuses on musculoskeletal health, mental health and wellness, knowledge transfer and exchange, organizational management systems, disability and employment, as well as work, product and environment design.

These research foci will address important issues regarding aging, gender, underemployment and a diverse workforce.

Our research program applies emerging technologies, innovates new solutions and concepts, and develops and evaluates new standards and guidelines to build the capacity of the future workforce.

Celebrating one year

The CISWP is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

In its inaugural year, CISWP as been collaborating with several industry stakeholders on multiple federally funded research projects including the development of three Canadian standards in the area of work and health and authoring eight research reports and a number of peer-reviewed research publications.

Currently, in response to COVID-19 public health crisis, CISWP is working with several partners in developing best practices to support frontline workers.

Over the next five years, and through extensive collaboration with industry stakeholders, CISWP will be expanding its research capacity to take a field-to-lab-to-field approach in developing, implementing and evaluating effective solutions to reduce the social and economic burdens of injury and disability while improving worker well-being and organizational performance and productivity.

At Conestoga College, there are almost 200 skills-oriented programs with over 50 trade shops and practical learning laboratories to teach the required skills to the next generation of the skilled trade workforce.

The CISWP research program involves working closely with faculty and trainees in these skilled trade programs and utilizing existing trade shops and practical learning labs to conduct sector-specific research to prevent workplace injuries, fatalities and disabilities.

CISWP is one of the only research institutes within the Canadian college system that focuses on conducting applied and innovative research in building the necessary capacity for a healthy, productive and sustainable workforce in Canada.

Amin Yazdani is the director of the Canadian Institute of Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont. His research is assisted by Dr. Marcus Yung and Bronson Du.