Immigrants, work and health: Evaluation of services to reduce inequities

Work is a marker of successful integration for immigrants to Canada. While we know much about the health outcomes and employment patterns of immigrants within the Canadian context, less is known about the impact of work on health, in particular on work disability experiences. Emerging evidence suggests that immigrants take longer to return to work following a work injury/illness compared to Canadian-born workers. Provision of employment-related and rehabilitation services are meant to provide access to safe work and minimize work disability but, this has not been examined in immigrant populations. Using a unique research opportunity that will merge immigration data with 1) workers’ compensation and medical services data; and 2) settlement service use for the working population of British Columbia, the purpose of this study is to examine the impact of rehabilitation and employment-related services on work and work disability experiences of immigrants compared to Canadian-born workers, along the continuum from injury to rehabilitation to return to work and income earning. Evidence of different experiences and effectiveness of services can inform best practices and reduce health inequities for all workers, including immigrants.