Research Participation Opportunity: Organizational Factors Associated with Effective Disability Management Programs

Data from national and international sources* continues to demonstrate that people with a disability have uncertain and inconsistent experiences in being accommodated to return to work. In addition, disabled candidates are proven to be under-represented at each stage of the hiring process and these combined employment barriers mean that they experience disproportionate levels of poverty. Even with accommodation legislation coming into place in numerous parts of the world, the actual, consistent practice of supporting a disabled worker in returning to the workforce has become a high stakes lottery; with some employers committed to robust Disability Management programs, while others continue to look the other way.

The National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR) has commissioned a research study to help understand why some organizations understand the value of Return to Work programs and embrace those practices – and to explore the internal and external factors that contribute to creating a culture of accommodation.

Research Team:

Prof. Kara A. Arnold; Memorial University, Canada
Prof. Lorne Sulsky; Memorial University, Canada
With support from:
Graham Halsey, Director, Well Working Matters, UK
Prof. Lode Godderis, University of Leuven, Belgium
Craig Gosse, MD, FRCPC, Canada

CSPDM Participation:

Certified Disability Management Professionals (CDMPs) and Certified Return to Work Coordinators (CRTWCs)  bring a unique perspective to this research; they have firsthand experience of employer understanding, commitment and execution of Return to Work programs and can draw from their own experience to share the organizational factors that they have seen influencing workplace practices.

This is an opportunity to contribute to research which will be shared with the provincial and federal governments, who are supportive of NIDMAR’s work and seeking to better understand the changes needed, in both legislation and common practice, in order to ensure better outcomes for ill and injured workers. In December 2021 we will be hosting a small focus group, lead by Kara Arnold and Lorne Sulsky. Those who do not participate in the focus group will be invited to share their input through a subsequent survey in the New Year.

Summary of Key Details:

  • The one-hour focus group opportunities will take place on multiple dates and times between Dec 13, 2021 and Dec 17, 2021 via zoom.
  • We are seeking participation from CDMPs and CRTWCs operating in different job roles, industries and regions. In order to ensure that the group size in manageable, and representative of a broad cross section of workplaces, we may not be able to invite all registrants to participate. However a subsequent survey will provide additional input opportunities for anyone not able to join a focus group.
  • All focus group participants will be provided documentation for 2 CEC hours to allow for preparation and virtual meeting time.
  • Those who do not participate in the focus group will be invited to share their input through a subsequent survey in early 2022.
  • All survey participants will be provided documentation for 1 CEC hour


To see the full list of focus group dates and times and to register your interest and availability, please click here
Note: The registration link will prompt you to sign in with a google account.  If you do not have a google account, just click ‘learn more’, then ‘continue without signing in’. All registrants will be asked to provide a preferred email address for communication about the focus group.

*Recent news sources:

This research was made possible thanks to funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.