Work and Health Research Lab


Unfair advantage for gig companies: Toronto Star

Newspaper imageIn a contribution to the Toronto Star November 25, 2021, Professor Ellen MacEachen highlights concerns with taxpayer subsidy of digital platform companies – a subsidy, she writes, that creates an unfair competitive advantage for platform companies and does not hold them responsible for providing decent work conditions:

“Ontario’s Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee is about to release its recommendations on leading the future of work in Ontario. But will they address the problem of how we taxpayers keep subsidizing gig courier and ride-hail companies like Uber and SkipTheDishes?

Dr. MacEachen notes gig companies have unfair advantages over other employers:

“Just because they are high tech, why does this excuse digital platforms from obligations carried by other Ontario employers? We have effectively created a subsidy for digital platform companies. We are all picking up the tab for these workers who are classified as nonemployees.

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Research Talk

Please join Dr. Ellen MacEachen at the University of Waterloo Research Talks “The workplace revolution: Envisioning the future of employment” on November 22, 2021 at 11:45 a.m. EST. Registration for this online event can be accessed at:

Dr. MacEachen will be presenting research from a CIHR-funded study conducted with co-Investigators Dr. Samantha Meyer and Dr. Shannon Majowickz. The study investigated the occupational and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for digital platform couriers.



Upcoming events – 2022

Ellen MacEachen and two of her graduate students are presenting their research findings at the 33rd International Congress on Occupational Health in Melbourne, Australia. Ellen MacEachen will present on low wage, public-facing workers and how they made decisions about taking sick leave during the pandemic. Pamela Hopwood will present research findings on elevated occupational safety risks for Ontario home care workers and Tauhid Khan will present findings on how Canadian self-employed workers manage ill health in the absence of social safety net supports.


Return to work for older workers presentation

Work and Qualitative Health Research lab student Pamela Hopwood presented “Illness, Injury and Disability for Older Workers: Perspectives of Return to Work Coordinators” at the International Federation on Ageing 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” November 12th, 2021. In this presentation, she explained challenges managing return to work (RTW) for older workers, such as co-morbid conditions, slower recovery times, and age-bias among employers. The presentation also explored how age-related beliefs and policies shape RTW and opportunity for older workers.



XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work – September 2021

Canada will be hosting the XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work from September 20-23, 2021.

 Dr. Ellen MacEachen will be speaking at the symposium, No injured workers left behind: Workers’ compensation and employment injury insurance schemes are essential part for better prevention and protection of workers.

We look forward to seeing you in September

XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work