Mental health suffers among workers permanently impaired by job injury

Workers who suffer a permanent impairment following a work injury are at greater risk of depression, sleep problems and medication abuse than the general population, according to new research from Trent University and the Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI).  For example, the study found greater rates of diagnosed depression (38 versus 12 per cent), sleep problems (75 versus 48 per cent), medication abuse (12 versus two per cent), and problems concentrating (42 versus 10 per cent).

O’Hagan was surprised by the findings. “What got me the most were the extent and range of problems,” he says. “Injured workers’ depressive symptoms were high years after the injury, in men and women, in those in high and low income brackets, with high and not-so-high levels of education. It was across the board.” He also saw an unsettling number of people who described their use of prescription or over-the-counter medications as “abusive.”

O’Hagan hopes that workers’ compensation boards will pay more attention to the mental health of workers with permanent injuries. He suggests that services need to better integrate psychological care with physical rehabilitation. He also proposes a long-term tracking system of injured workers to check physical and psychological recovery.

This study is available online

Night shift workers face increased breast cancer risk. Study looked at hundreds of women in diverse occupations.

Working night shifts for 30 years or more could increase breast cancer risk, a Canadian review suggests.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers shift work as a probable carcinogen based on limited evidence in humans and stronger associations in animal studies.

Previous research on breast cancer risks associated with night shifts were largely based on nurses. Now Prof. Kristan Aronson of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., has extended those findings to include prolonged shift work in non-health professions as well. “Long-term night-shift work in a diverse mix of occupations is associated with increased breast cancer risk,” Aronson and her co-authors concluded in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Read the full article here –

Province Extending Health Coverage to Seasonal Agricultural Workers

The provincial government is ensuring that seasonal agricultural workers participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program have provincial health coverage while working in Manitoba, Immigration and Multiculturalism Christine Melnick announced on May 15, 2013.

“Our government recognizes the hard and physically demanding work done by seasonal agricultural workers and we have heard the challenges they have faced with accessing health care,” said Melnick. “Manitoba’s economy relies on seasonal agricultural workers and we compete with other provinces to attract them here, which is why we’re changing our health coverage, to be in line with that already offered in Saskatchewan.”

Effective this summer, seasonal agricultural workers will become eligible for Manitoba Health coverage while they work in the province, waiving wait times for eligibility which is consistent with the approach used in Saskatchewan. There are between 300 and 400 workers who come from Mexico and Caribbean countries to do seasonal agricultural work in Manitoba every year. Currently, these workers are required to have health insurance through a private insurer and pay out of pocket for it.

“We applaud this government for recognizing temporary seasonal workers and giving them access to universal health care. This announcement will give these workers a definite peace of mind knowing in their time of medical need they won’t be facing mounting health-care bills,” said Jennifer deGroot, co-chair, Migrant Worker Solidarity Network. “The decision to extend health-care coverage to this group of vulnerable workers, combined with other initiatives such as the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, positions Manitoba as a strong leader among the provinces in providing important protections to migrant workers.”

“Seasonal agricultural workers work hard to grow the food that Manitoba families enjoy and as taxpaying residents of Manitoba, they deserve the same public health care that other taxpayers already receive,” said Jeff Traeger, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 832. “On behalf of these workers, UFCW thanks the Manitoba government for extending provincial health coverage.”

Migrant Voices: Stories of Agricultural Migrant Workers in Manitoba

A ground-breaking report was released on May 15, 2013 on the steps of the Manitoba legislature.  The report, by the Migrant Worker Solidarity Network and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives gives a voice to Manitoba’s migrant farm workers.  About 400 migrant workers, mostly Mexican men, come to Manitoba each summer under Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program to work on farms and nurseries.  The workers are invisible to most Manitobans.  The report is based on interviews with workers themselves, and also presents recommendations to federal and provincial governments.

Download a summary of the report:  Migrant Voices

Download the full report: Migrant Voices Report

Be Well Winnipeg website now open!

Log on to the Be Well Winnipeg website at, create your profile and start making small commitments to your wellness.   For every commitment you make, you will be entered to win prizes. Sponsored by Canadian Mental Health Association Winnipeg.

Reports to develop Manitoba’s New Action Plan for Workplace Illness & Injury Prevention

Three reports that are part of a wide-ranging review of workplace injury and illness prevention will be used to create the Manitoba government’s new Action Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.

The minister said the reports, which were written following a six-month consultation period with workers, employers and technical experts, will be used to develop Manitoba’s new Action Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention, expected to be released later this month.

The reports come from the Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health, Manitoba’s chief prevention officer for workplace safety and health, and Paul Petrie, a British Columbia-based expert on worker compensation systems who completed a review of the impact of the current Workers Compensation Board (WCB) experience-rating system on claim reporting and claim suppression, and identified strategies to promote injury and disease prevention.

Read the full news release here.

2012 Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety & Health Report

2013 Report of the Chief Prevention Officer

2013 Fair Compensation Review Report

OHC’s Submission to the Provincial Consultation on a Workplace Injury & Illness Prevention Strategy

Read about OHC’s recommendations for a provincial Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Strategy.

Key recommendations focus on Newcomer Workers, Mental Health in the Workplace, Effective Health & Safety Committees, & the need for Sector Specific Programming using a bipartite (worker/management) model.

Injury Illness Prevention Submission


OHC Submission to Workplace Safety & Health Act Review 2012

OHC submitted our recommendations to the Manitoba Government on the Workplace Safety & Health Review in October 2012.  Check it out.

WSH Act Review – final


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April 29th Free Public Presentation- Expert Eye: Vision and the Aging Worker

Apr 29, 2021 | 10:00 am - 11:00 am

OHC offers a free virtual public presentation

Expert Eye: Vision and the Aging Worker

Presented by: Marnie Courage, O.T. Reg. (MB)
CEO and Inclusion Specialist
Enabling Access Inc.

This webinar will:

  • Understand the aging demographics and age-related changes related to vision
  • Become familiar with common age-related vision loss conditions
  • Understand impact on worker’s performance, safety and psychological health
  • Discuss environmental considerations for injury prevention related to vision loss
  • Become familiar with administrative, engineering and behavioural accommodations to support employees experiencing vision loss.

Registration required, please register here: REGISTER

 The session time is on Manitoba time (CST) from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

You will receive a confirmation email for your registration and the Zoom Login information.