Healthy and productive work – Over $2.8M awarded to two research teams led by professors from the University of Ottawa

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Professors Ivy Bourgeault (Telfer School of Management) and Katherine Lippel (Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section) have both been awarded a joint CIHR–SSHRC Partnership Grant for their respective interdisciplinary projects on work-related health issues. The partnership grants, totalling over $2.8M, are part of the Healthy and Productive Work initiative, overseen jointly by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“The University of Ottawa is grateful to SSHRC and CIHR for this significant investment in health and worker productivity research in Canada,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president,  research. “This funding will allow our senior researchers to find innovative solutions to the health and productivity challenges faced in today’s work environment.”


Head shot of Professor Ivy Bourgeault standing in front of a window wall

Professor Ivy Bourgeault 

Ivy Bourgeault

Healthy professional/knowledge workers: Examining the gendered nature of mental health issues, leaves of absence and return-to-work experiences from a comparative perspective

Professor Bourgeault and a team of researchers from universities in Canada and the United Kingdom will study how male and female knowledge workers experience mental health issues at work, what motivates them to stay at work or negotiate a mental health leave and how they return to work after such a leave. The project will receive a total of $1,425,000 from CIHR and SSHRC. The University of Ottawa will also provide some matching funds towards this project.

By examining the gendered experiences of male and female knowledge workers who have dealt with mental health issues, the research team’s goal is to identify, evaluate and develop evidence-based interventions to promote mental health in the workplace. Ultimately, the team hopes to inform and influence policy-makers and organizations in the development of more effective and equitable policies, practices and programs that can mitigate the negative effects of mental health issues in the workplace and reduce the gap created by the systematic barriers that male and female knowledge workers face in their experiences with mental health-related leaves and subsequent returns to work.

Ivy Bourgeault teaches at the Telfer School of Management and is the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health Human Resources. She is the lead coordinator of the Pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Network and scientific director of the Ontario Health Human Resource Research Network, both housed at the University of Ottawa. Professor Bourgeault has garnered an international reputation for her research on health professions, health policy and women’s health.

Learn more about Professor’s Bourgeault research


Katherine Lippel

Professor Katherine Lippel standing in front of a construction zone

Professor Katherine Lippel

Policy and practice in return to work after work injury: Challenging circumstances and innovative solutions

Professor Lippel has gathered a multidisciplinary team to address overarching policy questions related to workers’ compensation law, ultimately seeking to filter out underlying problems and improve the law’s effectiveness for the most vulnerable categories of workers. In total, she and her team will receive $1,419,434 from CIHR and SSHRC. The University of Ottawa will also provide some matching funds towards this project.

Professor Lippel’s research will study both the implementation and the effectiveness of worker’s compensation (WC) policy, documenting the application of WC legislation and human rights legislation across Canada, examining its effects and ultimately helping Canada get back to the purpose of the legislation by promoting sustainable return to work for all workers injured or made ill because of work.

Professor Lippel holds the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety Law. Her brilliant contributions have been recognized in the past year by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which awarded her its highest research honour, the SSHRC Gold Medal. She also earned a special mention in the 2018 federal budget as an example of the success that comes from investing in Canada’s researchers, specifically the success of the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Learn more about Professor Lippel’s research 

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