Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Ravi Malhotra and Ben Isitt, eds. Disabling Barriers: Social Movements, Disability History and Law. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017, 189-210.


In 2015, the last year for which we have complete Canadian data, workers' compensation boards recognized that 852 Canadian workers died from work-related injuries and diseases and 232,629 workers experienced disabling injuries requiring them to take time off work. About 13 percent of those injured will have permanent disabilities of varying severity. These figures significantly underestimate the true burden of work-related disability for at least three reasons. First, the percentage of the paid Canadian workforce covered by workers' compensation has been shrinking. In 2008, it was estimated to stand at about 80 percent, although coverage bounced back to about 85 percent in 2015. Second, there is widespread evidence of claims suppression and underreporting of lost-time injuries. A 2014 review estimated that workers do not claim 20 percent of their injuries and illnesses and that employers do not report 7-8 percent of injuries, misreport 3-9 percent of lost-time injuries as non-lost-time injuries, and actively suppress some inestimable number of eligible claims. Finally, for a claim to be recorded it must be accepted by the compensation board, and there is evidence that compensation boards are rejecting claims more frequently. For example, in Ontario, the percentage of denied claims increased from 4 percent in 2001 to 8 percent in 2010.


Request a copy that is accessible using assistive technology (link opens in a new window)

Catalogue Record

Click here to access the catalogue record for this item.