2022 Grants agenda

Research priorities

The 2022 WSIB Research and Grants Program will focus on research that can help make Ontario the safest place to work. Three considerations for the competition include: 

      1. How we work 

      2. How we approach health and safety 

      3. How we support return-to-work and recovery  

The Research and Grants Program is committed to supporting the WSIB’s strategic priority of being financially responsible and accountable through the operating practices of the program on an ongoing basis. 

How we work

This refers to how a person is expected to perform their job. COVID-19 has resulted in a number of changes, including where we work and how we interact in the workplace. It is important to understand how the changing approach to work will affect work injuries. Topics of interest include:  

  • What factors of new work arrangements and remote-work impact work-related injuries and illness?  

  • What is the effect of COVID-19 on different sectors and occupations in terms of health and safety, and working conditions? 

  • How do compressed weeks or longer work hours affect occupational health and safety?  

  • How will climate change affect the health and safety of people working in Ontario?  

  • What will be the future claim types and volumes? 

    • What populations are most vulnerable to work illness or injury?  

How we approach health and safety 

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to how we work. It is important to understand that some old practices should be left behind, while some new processes that have been implemented should be carried forward. New ways of working can potentially minimize the risk to people, and it is imperative to leverage the insight gained to improve occupational health and safety. Topics of interest include:  

  • What are innovative approaches for prevention of injury, disease, and death? 
  • How can occupational and environmental medicine and public health better align to promote a consistent and comprehensive approach to health and safety?  
  • How can we reduce the incidence of serious injury, occupational disease and death? 
  • What occupational health and safety measures are effective and should be maintained following the pandemic?  
    • What past occupational health and safety measures should not be carried forward?  
    • How are other jurisdictions approaching occupational health and safety in regards to remote work and/or changing employment relationships?  
  • How to implement occupational health and safety in a remote-working environment?  
  • How to maintain the occupational health and safety movement caused by COVID-19?  
    • What business value, beyond prevention, has been derived from enhanced investment in occupational health and safety?  
  • What are effective programs or guides to support safe, effective and productive business operations against future pandemics or waves of COVID-19? 
  • What occupational health and safety gaps have been identified and need to be addressed to better protect and support vulnerable/high-risk occupations?  
  • What opportunities exist to better leverage, align, and/or link data within the workers’ compensation system to improve outcomes? 

How we support return-to-work and recovery 

COVID-19 has changed how we deliver care and support people with work-related injuries or illness. It will be important to leverage these changes to improve the workers’ compensation system. Topics of interest include: 

  • How can we improve the service experience and return-to-work outcomes?  
  • How can we better address the needs of vulnerable people (focus on youth, indigenous and new immigrants)? 
  • What are the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and how can we support people with long-haul COVID symptoms?  
  • What are effective tools, interventions and disability management models? 
  • Population of interest – mental health injuries 
  • What are innovative approaches to diagnosis, rehabilitation, and service delivery?  
  • What accommodations should be made to accommodate the needs of the aging workforce to prevent injury and/or support early and sustained RTW? 
  • How do we support early and sustained RTW in a work-from-home or remote workplace? 
  • What skills and training will be needed for the evolving workforce? 
  • How can remote/virtual (online, telemedicine) care be optimized?  
  • What are the defining features of mental health claims and how can they be supported? 
  • What mental health issues will arise from working during COVID-19 and how can they be supported?