The impact of changing work and community conditions on the health of workers and their children in BC resource dependent communities

Health research has established a strong link between socio-economic status and health outcomes. However, in BC’s resource-dependent communities, the income and social status situations for many workers vary throughout their working lives as a result of changing technologies and labour market conditions. Downsizing and restructuring in the labour market often results in greater frequency and duration of unemployment. Workers who retain their jobs often experience increased work stress in adapting to new on-the-job requirements, and entire resource-based communities are affected when industries downsize and restructure. Dr. Aleck Ostry is focusing on the health of workers in resource-based industries, and the health of their children. Dr. Ostry is studying the health outcomes of more than 28,000 sawmill workers between 1950 and 1998 in 14 BC sawmills, as well as approximately 23,000 of these workers’ children. He will explore to what extent labour market experiences at work and in the community affect the health outcomes of workers, and how these experiences also affect the health of their children. As changing market conditions in the global economy affect workforces throughout the world, this research is gaining national and international recognition.