Best practice evidence and research, as well as continued successful implementation of effective RTW / DM programs have demonstrated that when properly developed, implemented and administered, consensus-based RTW / DM programs can effectively reduce the socio-economic cost of disabilities for employers, workers and providers by a substantial margin while at the same time maintaining employability for workers with disabilities.
To ensure that these expectations are completely transferable, consistently achieved within a balanced framework across all operating environments and meet the unique needs of all stakeholders requires that a certain number of universally applicable principal requirements are met. This applies both to the design and implementation of policies and programs as well as the discreet set of characteristics in experience, skills and competencies reflected by the individuals charged with RTW / DM program development, implementation, maintenance and evaluation.
In order to address these critical issues and meet the growing demands, the National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR) in 1997 embarked on a formalized process to articulate the experiences, skills and competencies essential to define a consensus-based, transferable, recognizable and highly professional standard of excellence in RTW and DM practice for employers, workers and providers.
A defined occupational standard development process as set out by Human Resources Development Canada was concluded with the financial support of governments, major employers, workers compensation boards and unions from across Canada and the political leadership of key executives from all stakeholder groups. The process also benefited from the invaluable experience/knowledge contribution of academics, professionals and workplace practitioners from a broad Canadian spectrum as well as Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
This process culminated in the publication of the document, Occupational Standards in Disability Management (NIDMAR 1999) which has been endorsed for adoption by a cross section of Canada’s largest employers, unions and workers compensation boards.
Starting in 2001, the difficult process of creating psychometrically stable and defensible certification examinations based on the Occupational Standards was begun. Supported through government and a broad cross section of leading Canadian employers, unions and workers compensation boards, unified in their quest for excellence / quality assurance in RTW and DM and committed to balanced economic and social outcomes, this highly technical task was performed by one of Canada’s most reputable test development agencies, Assessment Strategies Inc. of Ottawa.
Working with practitioners / professionals from all stakeholder groups and representing all regions of Canada and following an internationally recognized test development protocol, this process has culminated in the finalization of test exams each comprising 300 multiple choice questions. Successfully passing these examinations will lead to obtaining either of the recognized CRTWC or CDMP designations.