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October 18, 2019 2:03 PM

First Canadian standard for work disability prevention open for review

A proposed new national standard from the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) Group on work disability prevention management systems is now open for public review and feedback. Dr. Amin Yazdani, director of Conestoga’s Canadian Institute of Safety, Wellness & Performance, in collaboration with Dr. Emile Tompa, co-director of the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy, led the research behind it.

“Since this is the first standard of its kind not only in Canada, but also in the world, Canada will be supporting the development and uptake of an innovative solution to the growing problem of work disability,” said Yazdani. “The project will position Canada as a national and global leader in this area.”

Currently, no national or international standard is available to assist Canadian employers in achieving excellence in their work disability management systems — a human resources and occupational health and safety issue relevant to all organizations in all sectors of the economy.

According to Statistics Canada, an estimated 22 per cent of adults in Canada — more than 6.2 million individuals — have a disability and every year tens of thousands of Canadians become disabled and are unable to work. The costs of disability take a staggering toll on workers and their families, as well as on employers and taxpayers. The International Labour Organization estimates the economic burden due to disabilities in Canada is roughly between six to nearly nine per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Final publication of the standard is expected in the spring of 2020. To be known as CSA Z1011, Workplace Disability Management System, the draft offers standards of excellence and guidelines to help organizations in the hiring, onboarding, retention, management and return to work of people with occupational and non-occupational disabilities. It will be a companion to CSA Group’s current management standards on quality, environment, workplace health and safety and risk management systems.

The draft standard is available online: visit the site to create a CSA Group account to review the draft and provide feedback on it before December 8, 2019.

For more information about this initiative, contact Dr. Amin Yazdani.

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance, located within Conestoga’s School of Business, works to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development — all in collaboration with stakeholders.

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