2024 Research and Grants Agenda

Research and Grant priorities

The 2024 Research and Grants Program will focus on applied research that can help make Ontario the safest place to work. Four 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
  4. How we meet our customers’ expectations

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

How we work

Where we work and how we interact in the work place is evolving. It is important to understand how the changing approach to work will affect work injuries and illnesses. Topics of interest include:

  • What factors of flexible work arrangements and remote-work impact work-related injuries and illness?
  • What are the effects of compressed weeks or longer work hours on occupational health and safety?
  • How will climate change (air quality, extreme heat, etc.) affect occupational injury and illness?
  • How will the changing labour market impact future claim types and volumes?
    • What populations are most vulnerable to work-related injuries or illnesses?
    • How will the gig-economy impact future claim types and volumes?

How we approach health and safety

Ensuring health and safety in the workplace is a critically important issue - organizations that invest in occupational safety perform better, reduce turnover, and help people do their jobs more effectively. Understanding how to adapt new processes and address structures that are lacking will help Ontario become the safest and healthiest place to work. Topics of interest include:

  • What are innovative approaches for the prevention of injury, disease, and death?
  • What are effective programs, guides, and tools to support occupational health and safety in remote and hybrid-work environments?
  • What are the unique occupational health and safety risks of the gig-economy?
    • What guides, tools, and programs can support risk reduction in the gig-economy?
  • What are effective programs and guides to support safe, effective, and productive business operations against future pandemics?
  • What are effective behavioural interventions that support practice change and build capacity within Ontario employers to improve health and safety practices?
  • What are effective self-screening tools and technologies to improve early recognition of occupational injury hazards?
  • What opportunities exist to link existing data within the workers’ compensation system to identify risk, assess practice change, and improve outcomes?
    • Can new data sets be created to better monitor the development of future occupational disease and illness?

How we support return-to-work and recovery

Delivery of effective and efficient care can support early and sustained return-to-work and recovery following a workplace injury or illness. It is important to leverage research to support the WSIB and the workers’ compensation system to improve services and support Ontario health care providers. Topics of interest include:

  • What are practical tools, programs, and services that can build capacity of Ontario businesses to work with people who have become injured and ill, and the compensation system to support return-to-work and recovery outcomes?  
    • Support for recovery and return-to-work in work-related mental stress injuries populations are of interest
  • What skills and training are needed to support vocational rehabilitation and work reintegration in the evolving workforce and economy?
    • What programs, services and tools are effective at improving employment outcomes in the open labour market for those with work-related injuries? 
  • What are effective tools, interventions, and disability management models to support sustainable return-to-work outcomes?
  • What are evidence-based approaches for diagnosis, rehabilitation, and service delivery for health care providers working within the workers’ compensation system? 
  • What accommodations and skills are required to support early and sustained return-to-work in an aging workforce? 
  • How can the WSIB support early and sustained return-to-work in a work-from-home or hybrid workplace?
  • What are effective communication tools and programs to support case managers/disability management professionals in early identification and intervention of psycho-social and workplace factors to support early return-to-work and recovery? 
  • Populations of interest: public safety personnel, mental health injuries, vulnerable workers

How we meet our customers’ expectations

Customer expectations have evolved to include personalized interactions, proactive services, and connected experiences across multiple channels. Understanding the customer will help streamline processes and deliver high quality services. Topics of interest include:

  • What are practical tools, programs, services or interventions that may support Ontario businesses to be safer and healthier workplaces? 
  • What is the preferred approach for people and businesses to receive health information for the purpose of education and action?
    • What are characteristics of a trusted health message? 
  • How can we improve how health care workers interact with the workers’ compensation system? 

The WSIB cannot actively support recruitment or refer individuals to a program for the purpose of a grant project. 

The use of the WSIB’s administrative data can be requested for the purpose of a grant project. To strengthen a proposal, prospective researcher(s) should consider how requested data may be linked to other data sets outside of the WSIB to create insights otherwise unavailable to internal analytics.