What's new

handshake
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Opportunity to provide feedback on Canada's Disability Inclusion Action Plan

The Government of Canada is consulting Canadians on how to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities. Complete the survey (linked below) by September 30, 2021, to share your ideas about financial security, employment, disability-inclusive spaces and a modern approach to disability. Your feedback will support the development of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

Learn more and access the survey link

Office workers
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People’s reasons for disclosing episodic disabilities linked to support they receive

Should people with an episodic disability disclose their condition at work? It's a complex decision. This study led by ACED director Dr. Monique Gignac looks at people's reasons for disclosing (or not) and explores whether they are linked to outcomes. 

Read the At Work article

older worker leaning against window
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Understanding the employment experiences of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): a work in progress

Leslie Cheng speaks about her practicum work with ACED partner Crohn's and Colitis Canada on how people with IBD experience "work". The key takeaways were: challenges in the workplace are common and we don’t know enough about them; a one-size-fits-all approach to workplace accommodations does not work; co-workers and supervisors can be important sources of support; and food can impact social interactions in the workplace. 

Read more on the Crohn's and Colitis Canada website

Diverse young adults in a work setting with words: "Help design strategies for a more inclusive future of work"
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Making the future of work more inclusive for young adults with disabilities

The world of work is changing very quickly. Factors like technology, artificial intelligence and climate change are changing how we work and creating new challenges and opportunities for young people seeking jobs who are living with a disability.

Your help is needed to understand how young people with disabilities can be supported in the future of work.

Our colleagues at the Institute for Work & Health are looking for young people with lived experience with disability (18-35) and key informants (e.g., policymakers, disability employment service providers, employers, and labour market experts) to help design future of work supports for young people… Read more. Join here

Photo of Monique Gignac
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ACED director's update: accommodation planning tool coming soon, work starting on disclosure tool

We hope you are keeping safe and healthy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The pandemic has highlighted many challenges, including the importance of keeping workers safe and supported. As part of the ACED study, partners and study participants have continued to lend their time to test and provide feedback on ACED tools and resources.  Our interactions have highlighted the vulnerabilities of people living and working with a chronic episodic condition during COVID-19. As the ACED research and toolkit development continues, we are keeping these issues top of mind.

In… Read more.

red binders and magnifying glass
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Resources supporting workers with chronic episodic disabilities – where could we do better?

A scan of workplace resources focused on supporting working people with episodic disabilities was recently published. The scan found that interactive resources are largely missing, and filling this gap could lead to more customizable tools that meet individual worker’s and workplace needs. The resource scan was undertaken by an ACED co-investigator, IWH Scientist Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd.

Learn more

Photo of Leslie Cheng and Ayesha Khan
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ACED practicum students enrich health partners’ work-related research and outreach

Two master’s students brought their passion for disability justice and health equity to their ACED practicums in 2020. Leslie Cheng (left) worked with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to study the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and work. Ayesha Khan (right) worked with Realize Canada to study the communication and disclosure of episodic disabilities during the hiring process.

Leslie Cheng had a unique opportunity to work directly with one of the ACED partners, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Leslie’s interest in working on ACED was sparked by her passion for disability justice and health equity.… Read more.

manager and worker talking using laptop
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Policy paper: Disclosure and working towards barrier-free recruitment

ACED partner Realize Canada recently published a policy paper on issues of equity in the hiring process, with the support of ACED practicum student Ayesha Khan. The paper, titled “Should I tell them? Working towards barrier-free recruitment in the Canadian labour market,” describes issues around disclosure and how they may affect the hiring process for people with episodic disabilities. The policy paper also contains several policy recommendations.

Get the policy paper (PDF, 1MB)
Illustration taken from the tool
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Partner tool helps young adults with Rheumatic Disease navigate the world of work

An ACED co-investigator, IWH Scientist Dr. Arif Jetha, led the design of a new interactive tool for youth and young adults with rheumatic health conditions such as juvenile arthritis or lupus as they begin their working lives. The tool is designed to help them identify and address the unique challenges they may face when looking for work, already working or unable to work due to their health condition.

Access the tool

Senior woman artist at work
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Episodic health conditions challenge workplace disability management systems

Employers are recognizing that they need a new model of disability management to support workers with episodic health conditions, according to a new Institute for Work & Health study. Because episodic health conditions are often characterized unpredictable periods of illness and disability, they can raise a host of issues for workplaces—including issues related to privacy, stigma and trust. Dr. Monique Gignac explains more about our findings in an interview published in At Work.

Read the At Work article
man and woman in conversation
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Workplace perspectives on challenges accommodating mental and physical health conditions

Results from our ACED research into organizational perspectives on communicating about and accommodating episodic disabilities in the workplace has been published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a diverse group of workplace stakeholders—including supervisors, disability managers, union representatives, occupational health representatives and labour lawyers—this research points to areas where workplace disability support processes could be enhanced to improve the sustainability of employment among workers living with episodic disabilities.

Get the journal article
covid virus under a microscope
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Message from ACED partnership about episodic disabilities and work during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised new concerns for people who are working with chronic episodic disabilities and may be more vulnerable to ill health than others during epidemics. An estimated 27 per cent of the working population has a chronic episodic disability. Yet, due to their intermittent, fluctuating and sometimes invisible nature, many episodic conditions go unnoticed in the workplace. For a multitude of reasons, people with episodic conditions often do not disclose their condition to their employers or co-workers. 

It is important for workplace parties to understand that people with episodic disabilities may be at greater risk if they are exposed to co-workers or the… Read more.

A paramedic wearing a face mask stands next to two ambulances
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People at greatest risk during COVID-19 can benefit most from supportive workplaces

In the planning of health and safety responses to COVID-19 and the ultimate reopening of workplaces, employers should be aware of the unique needs of workers with underlying health conditions. Dr. Arif Jetha, a member of the ACED research team, addresses this issue in the most recent edition of At Work.

Read more on the IWH website
Serious woman in room with bookshelf taking notes at a computer with headphones on
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ACED partners offer COVID-19 resources

ACED has compiled a listing of partner organization's COVID-19-related resources aimed at informing and offering guidance to individuals with episodic conditions, as well as those who support them.

Go to the resource page
Pen on top of the report
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Two new tools available on managing arthritis and work

Not everyone with an episodic disability like arthritis needs support at work, but getting the right support can make a difference to work satisfaction and productivity. The Arthritis Society recently added two new tools—developed in collaboration with the ACED partnership—to its collection of resources on managing arthritis and work. The tools are designed to help people consider whether to disclose a condition at work and to plan a conversation about workplace needs as they relate to arthritis.

Go to the ACED partner tools
Photo of Gemma Woticky
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ACED PhD student awarded three-year graduate scholarship

Gemma Woticky, a research assistant with the ACED project, has received a three-year Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to continue her studies. Woticky is a doctoral student in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences Division at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Under the supervision of ACED’s project lead, Dr. Monique Gignac, Woticky is studying the lived experiences of employees with a disability and their co-workers to understand communication and behavioural strategies, as well as workplace cultures, related to disability support and accommodation at work.

Learn more about the ACED project team
puzzle pieces fit together
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ACED seeking supervisors or managers to test new tool

Do you supervise an employee receiving or needing support for an episodic disability or health condition? If so, we want your input on a new tool being developed by ACED called the Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool (JDAPT). The JDAPT is designed to foster discussion and problem-solving between employees and their managers in order to meet employee needs for workplace supports. Your input will help make this tool practical and useful so that more workplaces can support employees with intermittent, chronic health conditions. We are testing the tool now until the end of April 2020.

Find out how to get involved
Wavelengths of various magnitude, to represent differing dynamics of disability
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New Statscan report focuses on episodic disabilities

Using data from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, Statistics Canada has taken a close look at the demographic, employment and workplace accommodation profiles of people with episodic disabilities in a report called The Dynamics of Disability: Progressive, Recurrent or Fluctuating Limitations. In the report, released in December 2019, Statscan compares relatively stable disabilities that result in consistent and unchanging limitations with three categories of episodic disabilities: those with progressive, recurrent or fluctuating limitations. It refers to the concept of different types of changing limitations as "disability dynamics."

The main findings of the… Read more.

Ceiling in Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa
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ACED members' expertise informs federal report on episodic disabilities

ACED project director Dr. Monique Gignac of the Institute for Work & Health, as well as ACED partner members Julie Kelndorfer of MS Society of Canada and Tammy Yates of Realize, were among those who provided expert testimony in late 2018 to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) as part of HUMA's exploration of the needs of people with episodic disabilities. Based on their and others' testimony, the standing committee made 11 recommendations in a March 2019 report entitled Taking Action: Improving the Lives of Canadians Living with Episodic Disabilities.

This… Read more.

Senior woman artist at work
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ACED partner video offers advice for workers with arthritis

Feeling tired, stiff or achy after work is something many of us have experienced. But having arthritis can make these symptoms part of everyday living – during work and after. By speaking to individuals with arthritis, researchers have learned about what helps them to manage their symptoms inside and outside the workplace. Dr. Arif Jetha, a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health and a member of the ACED research team, shares these approaches in a new video from the Arthritis Society.

Watch the video
Manila envelope with the words background information stamped on it in red
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ACED handout useful for sharing project information

The ACED project team has created a downloadable handout that makes it easy to share information about the project with others. Called "The ACED primer," the one-page, double-sided handout explains what the partnership is all about by asking and answering seven questions, from why the ACED project is needed to the people, organizations and funders behind it.

Get the handout