Newfoundland and Labrador Dialogue on Return to Work Program

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Return to work (including labour market re-entry) policies and practices play a critical role in the effective operation of the health and safety and workers’ compensation systems in Canada. There is a significant body of research on return to work policies and practices in Canada and elsewhere, including their strengths and weaknesses across diverse sectors, types of work and workplaces, and types of injuries/illnesses (physical and mental).

Funded by the national partnership initiative, Policy and Practice in Return to Work based at the University of Ottawa, the Newfoundland and Labrador Return to Work Dialogue is a multi- stakeholder, multi-phased dialogue that will consist of four, two-hour virtual sessions happening in fall (November, December) 2022 and winter (January, February) 2023.

During the Dialogue, invited representatives from WorkplaceNL, employers, unions, sector safety associations, health care professional representatives, and return to work organizations will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss findings from past and ongoing research on return to work done elsewhere, and to reflect on the relevance of these findings for return to work policies and practices in Newfoundland and Labrador. They will also be able to provide input into findings from a draft Return to Work Policy and Practice Scan comparing Newfoundland and Labrador’s return to work policies and programs to those in other Canadian provinces and key international jurisdictions.

The Dialogue starts from the premise that while we might all agree that early and safe return to work and labour market re-entry programs are good for workers and employers and for the compensation system, attention needs to be paid to when and under what conditions they are most effective. Consideration has to be given to the types of workplaces (i.e. small versus large, mobile versus static, and remote/rural versus urban) and to different groups of workers across diverse industrial sectors and types of injuries/illnesses. These factors have consistently been shown to influence when return to work is likely to be safe and effective in terms of protecting the physical and/or mental health and income of injured workers.

Insights from the Dialogue will be captured in a report and recommendations related to future research and policy priorities for Newfoundland and Labrador and a final version of the scan to be shared with participants and the wider public in spring 2023.

NL Dialogue on Return To Work - Final Report