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Do differences in work disability duration by interjurisdictional claim status vary by industry and jurisdictional context?
  1. Robert A Macpherson1,
  2. Mieke Koehoorn1,
  3. Barbara Neis2,
  4. Christopher B McLeod1,3
  1. 1School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2Department of Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
  3. 3Institute for Work and Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert A Macpherson, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; robert.macpherson{at}


Objectives To examine whether differences in work disability duration between out-of-province and within-province workers differed by industry and jurisdictional context.

Methods Workers’ compensation data were used to identify comparable lost time, work-related injury and musculoskeletal disorder claims accepted in six Canadian jurisdictions between 2006 and 2015. Out-of-province workers were identified as workers who filed claims in a different provincial jurisdiction to their province of residence. Coarsened exact matching was used to match out-of-province workers with within-province workers based on observable characteristics. Quantile regression models were used to estimate differences in cumulative disability days paid between out-of-province workers and within-province workers at different percentiles in the disability distribution, adjusting for confounders.

Results Compared with within-province workers, out-of-province workers were paid more disability days even after matching and adjusting on observable characteristics. Differences between the two groups of workers were observed for short-duration, medium-duration and long-duration claims (differences of 1.57, 6.39, 21.42, 46.43 days at the 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles, respectively). Industry-specific models showed that differences were largest in construction, transportation and warehousing, and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction. Jurisdiction-specific models showed that differences were largest in the western provinces where out-of-province workers were concentrated in those sectors.

Conclusions Out-of-province workers are a vulnerable group with respect to risk of longer work disability duration. Workers’ compensation systems, employers and healthcare providers may need to tailor specific interventions for these types of workers, particularly those employed in resource economy-dependent regions that are far from their regions of residence.

  • sickness absence
  • rehabilitation
  • epidemiology
  • musculoskeletal
  • migrant workers

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  • Contributors RAM conceived the study, conducted the analysis and drafted the manuscript. CBM conceived the study, guided the analysis and helped draft the manuscript. All authors (including MK and BN) reviewed the data analysis, contributed to the manuscript preparation and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by an Operating Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (Application Number 326950), Policy and Practice in Return to Work After a Work Injury: Challenging Circumstances and Innovative Solutions research team, a research partnership funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Application Number 895-2018-4009), CIHR (Application Number 159064), multiple universities and partners, and the Research and Workplace Innovation Program of the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba. CBM was supported by a CIHR New Investigator Award and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award.

  • Disclaimer All inferences, opinions and conclusions drawn in this manuscript are those of the authors, and do not reflect the opinions of WorkSafeBC, Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta, Workers’ Compensation Board of Saskatchewan, Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board of Ontario and WorkSafeNB.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Behavioural Research Ethics Board of the University of British Columbia (H13-00132).

  • Data availability statement The data analysed in this study are not publicly available. The data were under various information sharing agreements adhering to Canadian privacy legislation that impose legal restrictions in accessing, using and further disclosing of workers’ compensation data. Furthermore, British Columbia privacy legislation restricts research data to be accessible in Canada only. As this is a comparable study, all the data fall under this legislation.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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