Harnessing Talent Alliance

Academic Team

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Arla Day, PHD.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology, St Mary's University

Arla Day is a Professor in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary’s University, specializing in Occupational Health Psychology, and she is the Director of the CN Centre for Occupational Health & Safety.

Arla is also a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, and she was a Canada Research Chair at Saint Mary’s University in I/O psychology for 10 years. Dr. Day is a founding member of two research and community outreach centres at Saint Mary’s: the CN Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the Centre for Leadership Excellence. She was on the American Psychological Association’s Psychology in the Workplace board, which coordinated state and provincial psychologically healthy workplace awards and programs. Within this network, she chaired the Nova Scotia Psychological Healthy Workplace Program committee, organizing the APA Psychologically Healthy Workplace awards in Nova Scotia, and coordinating workshops and programs. She chairs the Occupational Health Psychology Summer Institute through the CN Centre, which is jointly hosted by Saint Mary’s University and Portland State University.

Dr. Day has authored articles, book chapters, and books pertaining to healthy workplaces, respect, and civility in the workplace, leadership, occupational stress, employee well-being, and work-life balance, focusing her research on developing and implementing effective organizational and individual initiatives and training program.

Arla has been an Associate Editor at the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology and a Consulting Editor at the European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology. She regularly reviews for a number of scholarly journals. She currently serves as an international advisor on the Stockholm Stress Centre’s Advisory Board, and she was awarded an Erskine Fellowship from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand to teach and conduct research on healthy workplaces.

Dr. Day regularly conducts workshops and keynote addresses on healthy workplaces, work-life balance, and wellness, and she has been called upon to provide expert testimony about survey validity, and the interpretation and use survey data. She consults with a number of private and public organizations, focusing on organizational health issues. Arla earned her Master’s and PhD Psychology from the University of Waterloo. 

Arla puts her research into practice by practicing work-life balance, developing healthy work- (and nonwork-) places, and spending her nonwork time engaged in a lot of outdoor activities with her energetic and engaging daughter, with horses and dogs, and one very opinionated cat.

Christine Maheu

Christine Maheu, PHD, MA, BA.

Ingram School of Nursing,
McGill University

Christine Maheu is an Associate Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing at McGill University and an affiliate scientist at the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, Cancer Program. Dr. Maheu research interests include developing interventions that address the following cancer survivorship issues: return to work, fear of cancer recurrence, managing cancer-distress, uncertainty, and coping. Dr. Maheu is the Co-Director of Cancer and Work (www.cancerandwork.ca), a Canadian bilingual website created with a multidisciplinary team and expert writers to address the gap in return to work support for cancer survivors. She is currently co-leading a clinical trial for the management of fear of cancer recurrence with breast and gynecological cancer survivors and developing cancer and work tool to assess readiness for return to work. 

She holds funds from the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Dr. Maheu received excellence awards in nursing research (2013, 2015, 2016) from Ovarian Cancer Canada, Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology, and Association Québécoise des infirmières en Oncologie (AQIO)/Quebec Association of Nurses in Oncology. Dr. Maheu is the recipient of a junior 2 FRQ-S career award. Christine is the director-at-large for research for the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology/Association Canadienne des infirmières en oncologie (CANO/ACIO), a national organization with a mission to advance oncology nursing excellence through practice, education, research, and leadership for the benefit of all Canadians. 

Christine has a Ph.D. in nursing with an emphasis in psychosocial oncology from the University of British Columbia, a Post-doctorate from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s and Bachelor degree in nursing from l’Université de Montréal. In her spare time, Christine enjoys marathon training and spending time with her husband and three teenage children.

Diane Lacaille

Diane Lacaille, md, frcpc, mhsc.

Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine UBC

Diane Lacaille is the Associate Scientific Director and a Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada; as well as a Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Associate Head of Academic Affairs, Department of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. She has a rheumatology practice in Richmond, BC. She holds the Mary Pack Chair in Rheumatology Research from UBC and The Arthritis Society of Canada.

Diane’s research focuses on two areas: 1) Evaluating the quality of health care services received by people with RA, developing and testing interventions to improve quality of care, and conducting pharmaco-epidemiology studies, using BC administrative health data; 2) Studying the impact of arthritis on employment and preventing work disability. She has developed the Making-it-Work™ Program, an online program helping workers with arthritis deal with employment issues. Making-it-Work™ is the first comprehensive program specifically designed to prevent Work Disability (WD) in employed people with inflammatory arthritis, such as RA. This program has been pilot tested and showed promising results in improving self-confidence and self-rated productivity at work. An ongoing randomized clinical trial is testing the effectiveness of the program at improving at-work productivity and preventing work disability.

Her research has been supported by peer reviewed grants from the Canadian Institute for Health and Research, the Canadian Arthritis Network, the Arthritis Society of Canada and the Canadian Rheumatology Association. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013 for her research contributions. She completed medical school and internal medicine training at McGill University in Montreal, and her Rheumatology training and a Master’s in Health Sciences, clinical epidemiology, at the University of British Columbia. In her spare time, Diane enjoys the outdoors, particularly sailing, hiking, and skiing.

Fergal OHagan

Fergal O'Hagan, PHD, Rkin.

Department of Psychology,
Trent University

Fergal O’Hagan is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Before and during his doctoral training, Dr. O’Hagan practiced in the field of occupational rehabilitation holding progressive positions in public and private sector organizations. He has worked with a range of clinical populations developing, managing, and evaluating occupational rehabilitation programs. His research examines individual adaptation to chronic health conditions with a specific focus on work functioning. He is a Registered Kinesiologist with the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario, consulting to Lifemark Health on occupational rehabilitation issues.

Fergal completed a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, and his post-doctoral training focused on work disability prevention. In his spare time, Fergal enjoys rugby, Avengers Movies and riding the bike paths of Peterborough and surrounding area.

Izabela Schultz


Cortex Centre for Advanced Assessment

Since 1987, Dr. Izabela Schultz has been the Principal Investigator for over $1.5 million in research projects. The results of a major multi-pronged, multi-method study of work accommodations for persons with mental health disabilities were integrated to produce first-ever Canadian evidence-based practice guidelines for accommodations and employment retention in mental health. Dr. Schultz is the clinical director of UBC affiliated Cortex Centre for Advanced Assessment, providing multidisciplinary assessment services for employees with nonvisible disabilities. Dr. Schultz’s research focuses on prediction of disability from early markers; the relationship between impairment and disability, occupational disability determination, mental health disorders, and work capacity, return to work interventions, work accommodations and chronic pain, brain injury and other neurocognitive disorders, depression, anxiety, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Much of Dr. Schultz’s conceptual, empirical, knowledge transfer and professional work focuses on psychological and vocational aspects of nonvisible disability including diagnosis, assessment, causality determination; the impact of psychological impairment on work capacity in mental health, neurological and pain-related disabilities; and secondary prevention of disability, including the development of new methodological approaches to clinical causality determination, determination of impact of mental health impairment on work capacity, and early risk identification and intervention approaches in chronic pain and mental health disability. 

Dr. Schultz has published extensively in rehabilitation, forensic, and vocational psychology and neuropsychology. Izabela has award winning studies on prediction of occupational disability, early risk identification, and intervention in a disability compensation context. She is a co-editor of the following eight textbooks, including Gatchel, Schultz & Ray (2018). Handbook of Rehabilitation in Older Adults, Olson, Young, & Schultz (2016); Handbook of Qualitative Research for Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare; Schultz & Gatchel (2015). Handbook of Return to Work: From Research to Practice; Gatchel & Schultz (2014). Handbook of Musculoskeletal Pain and Disability Disorders in the Workplace; Gatchel & Schultz (2012). Handbook of Occupational Health and Wellness; and, Schultz & Rogers (2010). Work Accommodation and Retention in Mental Health. Izabela earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Warsaw, her Master’s of Arts in Applied Psychology (Summa cum laude) from the University of Warsaw, and her PhD (summa cum laude) in Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, also from the University of Warsaw.

Kelly William Whitt


Faculty of Management,
University of Lethbridge

Kelly Williams-Whitt is a Professor in the Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge, and a Labour Mediator and Arbitrator. She is a former registered nurse, with an MBA and a PhD in human resource management and labour relations. Dr. Williams-Whitt teaches courses in labour relations, labour and employment law, human resources management, and workplace health management. 

Kelly is an active researcher and works with scientists from around the world to conduct studies in occupational health and return-to-work after illness or injury.  Her work is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and she has authored numerous books and book chapters on work disability and labour and employment law. Dr. Williams-Whitt is the chair of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) Southern Alberta chapter and former president of CIRA national. She also holds an appointment with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (Labour Program) as an adjudicator for cases falling under Part III of the Canada Labour Code. She sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Workplace Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute. Kelly earned her NDip from the Foothills Hospital School of Nursing, and an MBA and PhD in Human Resources and Labour Relations from the University of Calgary. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Rebecca Gewurtz

Rebecca Gewurtz, PHD, OT.

School of Rehabilitation Science,
McMaster University

Dr. Rebecca Gewurtz’ research is focused on work disability policy, income insecurity, and employment and housing support among people living with disabilities. She has been involved in large projects that include diverse community partners such as employers, non-profit social service organizations, and government agencies. She has experience with participatory action research and co-designing solutions to complex social problems. Her recent work includes a focus on the unique experiences of people who have experienced homelessness and are transitioning to being housed, as well as retaining people who are living with mental health conditions in the workplace. Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Queen’s University and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Toronto. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys hanging out with her three kids and going for nature walks.

Shannon Wagner


School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia

Shannon Wagner is a Professor in the School of Health Sciences, and the Interim Dean for the College of Arts, Social and Health Sciences. Her research focus is occupational mental health, especially as it relates to disability management, occupational stress, trauma, and family-work interface. She is particularly interested in work with first responders and has completed work with firefighters that spans more than two decades.

Dr. Wagner is also a registered psychologist and maintains a small clinical practice. Her practice provides general psychological assessment for both children and adults and provides specific local expertise for issues of occupational mental health, especially workplace related traumatic stress.

Susanne Bruyere


Research Assistant and Program Development Officer

The Yang-Tan Institute is a research, training, and technical assistance center focusing on disability inclusion in employment, education, and community. Dr. Bruyère serves as Institute administrative and strategic leadership, and also as the PI/Co-PI of numerous research, dissemination, and technical assistance efforts focused on employment and disability policy and effective workplace practices for people with disabilities. She is the author/co-author of three books and over 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on workplace disability inclusion and related topics. 

Susanne is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association. Dr. Bruyère is a past president of the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology (22) of the American Psychological Association, the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE), and past Board Chair of the Executive Board of the Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training (GLADNET), and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Susanne earned her masters’ degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling (University of Southern California), Public Administration (Seattle University), and Adult Education (Seattle University), and her PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her spare time, Susanne enjoys being outdoors in nature, hiking, and skiing. She is a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC).

Tyler Amell

Tyler Amell, PHD, MSC, BSC.

CoreHealth Technologies

Dr. Tyler Amell is an internationally recognized thought leader on the topic of workplace health and productivity. He is an advisor on strategic and integrated workplace health and productivity to employers, insurance companies, third party administrators, and health and well-being service providers. He has presented at over 150 conferences and published numerous scientific papers and reports. In the past, Tyler has also served on the Executive Board of Directors of the San Francisco-based Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), and the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health (CARWH). He is the past CEO of a Human Resources Technology Company, past Vice President and Partner at a global Human Resources Consulting and Technology firm, and past Vice President of a large Healthcare Company. Dr. Tyler Amell is a former instructor at Queen’s University and the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Ottawa. Tyler earned his PhD in Rehabilitation Medicine from the University of Alberta, a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Medicine from Queen’s University and a Baccalaureate degree from the University of Ottawa. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys skiing, hiking, biking, and golf. 

Partner Organizations

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Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) is the oldest national organization that promotes and supports meaningful and equitable employment of people with disabilities. For over 40 years, CCRW has successfully connected and dually focused on jobseekers with disabilities and employers to ensure local hiring needs are met. For the past 20 years, CCRW has implemented a range of successful employment programs, shifting the unemployment rate needle away from the ‘charity model’ towards the ‘business case’ for hiring a person with a disability. Some CCRW programs and services are in specific provinces and territories, and some exist throughout the country.

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They currently offer the following employment programs for jobseekers with disabilities:

  • The Youth the Future (YTF) Program is a pre-employment skills development program for youth with disabilities (15-30).  Programs currently exist in a number of cities within Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Program participants transition to an entry-level job, with the overall goal to retain their employment.
  • Employment Services is a fully bilingual service located in several cities throughout new Brunswick, CCRW’s Employment Services (ES) program boasts an average of 77.3% success rate in helping jobseekers with disabilities find employment.
  • The Toronto-based Workplace Essential Skills Partnership (WESP) helps professionals with disabilities (i.e. university or college graduates, or individuals with relevant work experience) find and retain career related employment.
  • The CCRW Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program (Partners) supports jobseekers with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining and maintaining employment. Jobseekers with disabilities receive individualized case management to achieve employment. There are currently 7 CCRW Partners locations across the country.

CCRW also offers the following programs for employers looking to recruit and retain talented employees with disabilities:

  • New Brunswick Employer Support Services (NBESS): New Brunswick’s only provincial, bilingual organization dedicated to helping private and public-sector organizations become more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.
  • WORKink®: CCRW’s online employment portal for Canadians with disabilities
  • CCRW Job Accommodation Service (JAS)®: CCRW JAS® program was created in 2000 with the goal of reducing both individual and systemic workplace barriers. Employing one full-time Director and two JAS® Specialists, JAS® provides bilingual and practical workplace accommodation solutions and advice to employers.
  • Disability Confident Employer Program (DCEP): The Disability Confident Employer Program (DCEP) is online and interactive training for supervisors, managers and recruiters who have some experience with hiring and retaining persons with disabilities but want to take their business to the next level. ​
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Canadian Mental Health Association

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s mission is to facilitate access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) does this by visioning mentally healthy people in a healthy society.

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CMHA believes that supporting employees’ mental health can improve productivity, cut down on absences, and increase worker retention. CMHA’s Workforce Mental Health Collaborative provides employers and unions with in-depth training, practical resources and valuable support that can address and improve psychological health and safety in the workplace.
Related programs and services include:

  • Not Myself Today
  • Peer Support Canada
  • Workplace Mental Health
  • CMHA’s annual national Bottom Line Conference which brings together business leaders, policy-makers, researchers and workers to improve mental health in Canadian workplaces.
  • Management Training
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Psychological Health and Safety Solutions
  • Guarding Minds @ Work™ (self-serve psychological health and safety assessment resource)
  • Promoting Mental Health at Work
  • Partnering with Sheridan College on a national online course that helps people who are off work and on short-term disability due to a mental health challenge, in a program that enables them to return to work – confidently and productively
  • Interactive workshops and dynamic speakers, where participants receive detailed, tangible and actionable information
  • Free training, tools and online resources

CMHA Psychological Health and Safety Advisors and Mental Health Works Trainers have diverse expertise in workplace mental health, and help build awareness and increase knowledge about workplace mental health for diverse audiences. The goal is to help, in English and French at no cost, Canadian employers with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues.


Cancer and Work

Cancer and Work is a pan-Canadian interdisciplinary team of experts (vocational rehabilitation, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychologists, researchers, and cancer survivors) representing  McGill University, B.C. Cancer, University of Toronto, University Health Network, Jewish General Hospital, St Mary’s University, Dalhousie University with the aim of advancing knowledge and research for evidenced and best practice in the support of cancer survivors with return to work, stay at work, or finding new work after a cancer diagnosis.

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Cancer and Work has partnered with community-based organizations including, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Survivors’ Network, Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute,  the National Institute of Disability Management and Research, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The team brings clinical and academic experience relevant to return to work for those with cancer and an extensive track record in providing education to cancer survivors, healthcare professionals, and employers as well as to researchers and academics. This has been a co-leadership model combining clinical expertise from a front-line vocational rehabilitation counselling working in an oncology cancer centre (Maureen Parkinson, B.C. Cancer) and nursing research specialist in oncology (Dr. Christine Maheu, McGill University) to foster best practice informed care and clinically driven research.

Initially funded by Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Cancer and Work website provides clear, bilingual, comprehensive information about return to work by offering the best available national and international information. The website is designed to empower survivors, enable healthcare providers to deliver informed guidance, and equip employers with tools to support cancer survivors at work.  The website features over 500 pages of content, 28 topics areas, 8 online tools, 7 videos, and 5 webinars created in partnership with over 50 Canadian experts in cancer and work. Launched in October 2016, it has become the leading Canadian resource for cancer and work.

The website also provides a hub to announce research findings and advertise research addressing cancer survivors needs with reference to return to work, and provides a platform for researchers to connect and collaborate on research grant submissions to further research. Through grants, Cancer and Work has provided presentations and workshops across the country to cancer survivors, employer/employer representative, nurses, psychosocial professionals, insurances representative,  medical and rehabilitation staff and representatives from community-based societies. ​


Chartered Professional in Human Resources, Alberta, (Northwest Territories and Nunavut)

CPHR Alberta is the professional association dedicated to strengthening the human resources profession and upholding the highest standards of practice. With 6,000 members in major cities across Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, CPHR Alberta is the third largest HR Association in Canada.

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​Some of the programs this CPHR branch provides include:

  • Annual Conference
  • Volunteer Program
  • Mentorship Program
  • Awards Program
  • Students Program
  • CPHR Alberta Job Source
  • HR Professional Recognition, Professional Standards and Professional Development
  • Research, trends and information

Chartered Professional in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon

CPHR BC and Yukon is the professional body for more than 5700 members comprising of CEOs, VPs, Directors of Human Resources, Generalists, Human Resources Advisors, Consultants, Educators, Students, and small business owners in British Columbia and the Yukon and offers professional development and networking opportunities to its members.

CPHR BC and Yukon’s mission is to keep people first in the decisions of leaders.

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CPHR BC and Yukon, as part of their outreach activities:

  • Strike relationships with various Boards of Trade, Chambers of Commerce, and others
  • Deliver quality professional development which is responsive to member needs
  • Strengthen local and global alliances
  • Collaborate with U.S. counterparts on research and standards-setting
  • Consort with highly regarded human resources organizations (ex. World at Work)
  • Associate with online social communities of HR professionals (ex. Lynda.com; HR Open Source) and seek opportunities for knowledge sharing and joint thought leadership
  • Increase presence at, and participation in, public events which position CPHR BC and Yukon as a leading human resources contributor

CPHR BC and Yukon serves the public interest as the leading authority on human resources matters:

  • Conducts research and releases position papers
  • Capitalizes on advocacy opportunities
  • Pursues self-regulation
  • Liaises with and consult government establishing the CPHR BC & Yukon as a trusted ‘go-to’ business authority
  • Pursues speaking engagements and media opportunities which elevate CPHR BC & Yukon  visibility​
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Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is the National Voice of Non-Status and Status off-reserve, Metis and Southern Inuit Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program (ISETP) program is designed to help Aboriginal Peoples prepare for and find high-demand jobs that will help address Canada’s labour market challenges. CAP provides Aboriginal Peoples the opportunity to gain the skills required to find employment and fill job gaps in sectors experiencing skills and labour shortages.

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The ISETP is targeted to Aboriginal Peoples living in urban, rural and remote areas throughout Canada. CAP is focused on providing the right supports for successful interventions through: Employment Counseling, Skills Training, Wage Subsidies, Self-Employment Assistance.

CAP also assists with supports that remove other barriers to employment, such as Personal Protective Equipment and transportation assistance.

​The Congress is currently expanding programs that provide the opportunity for Aboriginal Peoples to gain the skills required to find employment and to fill job gaps in sectors experiencing skills and labour shortages.

Examples of CAP programs and services:

  • Employment Counseling
  • Skills Training
  • Wage Subsidies
  • Self-Employment Assistance

Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society 

The Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society is a Nunavut-wide organization, located in Iqaluit, Nunavut that supports individuals with disabilities in achieving their full potential and equal participation in their communities. The NDMS mission is to achieve full independence and integration for people with disabilities in Nunavut. The organization promotes awareness, opportunities, choices and participation in all aspects of life in Nunavut, striving to remove barriers and ensure equitable participation for all.

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Services currently offered by NDMS include:

  • Advocacy: promoting and lobbying for rights and interests of people with disabilities
  • Research
  • Public education
  • Support, coaching and case-management for individuals
  • Pre-employment programming for individuals facing barriers to employment


Realize is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and delivers programs and services across the country. It is a national charitable organization that responds to the rehabilitation needs of people living with HIV, in large part by actively encouraging and facilitating collaboration between the traditionally separate HIV, disability, rehabilitation and gerontology sectors. It is also the only organization in Canada that has dedicated staff working on Episodic Disabilities Initiatives. Episodic conditions have a significant impact on work participation, with significant cross-over between physical and mental disabilities.

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Episodic conditions include, but are not limited to: anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bi-polar disorder, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including chronic bronchitis and emphysema), chronic pain, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIPD), Crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, lupus, Meniere’s disease, multiple sclerosis, migraines, parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder. Many episodic conditions have differences in prevalence across gender and ethnicity. Episodic conditions impact all age groups, however has the greatest impact during middle working years.

It is the founder of and still currently hosts and chairs the Secretariat of the National Episodic Disabilities Forum. The Episodic Disabilities Forum (EDF) has effectively brought together organizations working on issues affecting people with episodic disabilities. The EDF currently has a membership of over 30 organizations from across the country and serves as a pan-Canadian forum for issues relating to episodic disabilities and specifically to:

  • Identify relevant evidence and policy initiatives;
  • Serve as a hub of expertise and information about episodic disabilities;
  • Disseminate information to raise the profile of episodic disabilities and
  • Educate governments and the private sector about the inclusion of Canadians who live with episodic disabilities.

Realize works to enhance the income security and participation of people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities in (and out of) the labour force by the following programs and services:

  • Engaging with employers, insurers, rehabilitation providers, and government to promote adaptable policies and programs to enhance recruitment and retention of people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities in the workplace
  • Considering the mental, emotional, social, and financial health challenges experienced by people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities across the lifespan
  • Educating employers, insurers, human resource professionals, frontline managers and supervisors about the labour force participation and income security challenges of people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities i.e. hiring, retention and return to work
  • Fostering partnerships across chronic illness community organizations to promote awareness of effective workplace interventions that facilitate labour force participation by people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities
  • Creating a knowledge hub of expertise on labour force participation and income support of people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities to respond to new and emerging needs of these groups in these areas

Realize have been pioneers in the area of episodic disabilities and have both the expertise and experience working with people living with chronic and episodic disabilities, as well as employees who have experienced work-related injuries that can impact work participation.

Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada

Vocational Rehabilitation Association Canada

The Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada (VRA Canada) is the leading national organization representing vocational rehabilitation professionals. Since its establishment in 1970, VRA Canada and its members have worked to remove barriers for individuals to return to work and achieve the best possible outcomes following a work-related injury.

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Vocational rehabilitation professionals specialize in helping Canadians with disabilities return to the workforce. VRA Canada members are part of a unique interdisciplinary profession, with specific experience in vocational rehabilitation and disability management, supported by expertise spanning the fields of counselling, psychology, industrial psychology, assessment, rehabilitation, human resources and labour relations. There are more than 1,250 Vocational Rehabilitation companies in Canada.  As a professional association, VRA Canada provides education and training programs to main high standards of professional competency.

VRA members have different designations depending on their educational pathways and work experience.

  • Registered Vocational Professional (RVP: This designation recognizes those individuals who provide vocational/employment services within the rehabilitation field
  • Registered Community Support Specialist (RCSS): This designation provides a career ladder option for individuals who have successfully completed a relevant university or college education but do not yet have the work experience to qualify for the RRP or RVP designations
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Work Wellness Institute

The Work Wellness Institute (WWI) is a global centre of excellence with a mandate to create and sustain work wellness, prevent disability, eliminate impairment-related job loss, and worklessness for those with, or at risk of, chronic and episodic health-related challenges. A primary goal is to reduce the gap between what is known from high quality research and what is done in practice.
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  • Facilitate the adoption of research evidence to create and sustain work wellness, prevent disability, eliminate impairment-related job loss, and worklessness for those with, or at risk of, chronic and episodic health-related challenges
  • Provide credible, science-informed, practical tools and educational resources to facilitate stay at work, return to work, and re-integration of people with impairments and disabilities
  • Work collaboratively with government, organizations and individuals who play a role in creating, and sustaining safe, healthy, inclusive and productive workplaces
  • Provide relevant and useful evidence-based services and resources to stakeholders seeking research-based information and practical resources. Stakeholders include:
    • governments, employers, labour organizations, occupational health and safety professionals, public and private insurers, educators, workers and vulnerable populations
  • Partner with the global community of researchers, professionals and other stakeholders committed to work wellness and the prevention of disability,  job loss and worklessness
  • Support work participation for those at risk, or with, chronic and episodic health-related challenges

Find out more about the Work Wellness Institute

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