Katherine Lippel earns CIHR−SSHRC Partnership Grant for innovative project on workers’ compensation

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Professor Katherine Lippel has been awarded a joint CIHR−SSHRC Partnership Grant for a project entitled “Policy and practice in return to work after work injury: Challenging circumstances and innovative solutions.” The grant is part of the Healthy and Productive Work Initiative, overseen jointly by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research(CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Professor Lippel has gathered a multidisciplinary team of 14 academics, 18 partners and over 20 trainees 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. She and her team will receive $796,130 from CIHR and $623,304 from SSHRC. Further partner contributions will be added to those totals, and the University of Ottawa will provide some matching funds.

A fundamental purpose of workers' compensation (WC) law and policy is to help people return to work after injury. The law therefore creates regulatory economic drivers as incentives. However, Professor Lippel’s pilot studies, focusing on some of the most vulnerable categories of workers, suggest that these drivers can often become the new purpose of the process. As a result, management techniques designed to maximize economic gain end up undermining the desired intention of the law. Professor Lippel’s project will study both the implementation and the effectiveness of WC policy, documenting the application of WC legislation and human rights legislation across Canada, examining their 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.

"We are absolutely thrilled and honoured that the Civil Law Section is the institutional space that hosts Professor Lippel’s Partnership Grant," says Margarida Garcia, vice-dean of Research for the Civil Law Section."Professor Lippel has been consistently engaged in creating research that enhances science and public policy that benefits students and young researchers and is aimed at making a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable categories of people in our society. Her research and way of producing knowledge expresses a commitment towards interdisciplinarity and partnership as it relies on collaborations built at both community and international levels and across disciplines. We are very proud of Professor Lippel’s success in this project, grateful for the joint support of CIHR and SSHRC and excited about the outcomes and contributions that this partnership will bring into existence”.

Professor Lippel holds the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety Law. Herbrilliant 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.

Congratulations to Professor Lippel!


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