Color & Control:

New Canadian standard

CSA Group using public input in anticipation of 2020 release of a work disability prevention management systems

A proposed new national standard from CSA Group on work disability prevention management systems was open for public review and feedback, with the final publication of the standard expected in the spring of 2020. The director of the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP), Dr. Emile Tompa, chaired the CSA Group Technical Committee behind the standard.

To be known as CSA Z1011, Workplace Disability Management System, the draft standard 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. As such, it will be a companion to CSA Group’s current management standards on quality, environment, workplace health and safety and risk management systems.

An estimated 22 per cent of adults in Canada—more than 6.2 million individuals—have a disability (Statistics Canada, 2017). And every year, tens of thousands of Canadians become disabled and are unable to work, thereby becoming excluded from the numerous health advantages of workforce participation. The costs of disability take a staggering toll on workers and their families, as well as on employers and taxpayers. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the economic burden due to disabilities in Canada is estimated to be between 6.7% to 8.7% of the country’s GDP (ILO, 2009)

“Creating a national standard for work disability management systems is key to improving work disability management practices and reducing the economic burden of work disability in Canada,” says Tompa, a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where CRWDP is headquartered.

Tompa and Dr. Amin Yazdani, vice-chair of the CSA 2011 Technical Committee and director of the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College, led the research that got the CSA Group standard-development process off the ground. Additional experts and collaborators engaged in the development of the CSA Z1011 standard included Dr. David Brown, also a vice-chair of the CSA 2011 Technical Committee and medical director at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), along with government bodies, health and safety organizations, mental health associations, injured worker and disability communities, and employer and worker representatives.

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 that is relevant to all organizations in all sectors of the economy, whether large or small, for-profit or not-for- profit, private or public.

“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,” says Yazdani. “The project will position Canada as a national and global leader in this area.”

The standard, once implemented, is expected to help businesses achieve fewer workplace injury recurrences, fewer long-term work-related disabilities, fewer work disability absences, lower workers’ compensation costs, improved operational performance, and increased worker engagement and productivity—putting Canadian workplaces at an advantage in the competitive, global economy.

The Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy is an applied research organization hosted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance is a research institute hosted at Conestoga College’s School of Business.

Reprinted with permission from the Institute for Work and Health (IWH).

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