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Moving Forward in Equity and Empowerment: Employment After Concussion/Brain Injury

Managing return to work after a concussion/brain injury can be challenging.

OBIA is a leader in education and training and we recognize the importance of improving return to work outcomes for survivors of concussion/ brain injury.

What is the gap in the return to work process?

Employers and survivors of concussion/brain injury often encounter barriers in the return to work process. Each concussion/brain injury varies from person-to-person and a tailored return to work plan is needed. The inability to return to work and unemployment are often linked to mental health challenges including depression, low self-esteem, and low life satisfaction.

What we’ve learned so far from concussion/brain injury survivors and employers

  • The relationship between the employer and the employee is a key factor in the return to work process
  • The job components must align with the employee’s current skills and capabilities
  • Mental health and wellbeing play a factor in returning to work
  • Some employees find challenges navigating aspects of short-term/long-term disability, ODSP, CPP, WSIB, etc.
  • Change in sense of identity is common among employees after concussion/brain injury
  • Employers identified a need for further specialized guidance for supporting their employees with concussion/brain injury in the return to work process

We need to improve the return to work process for survivors of concussion/brain injury

What is OBIA’s Role?

The Employment After Concussion/ Brain Injury project will reshape how employers support their employees after a concussion/brain injury. The project will help build employer’s capacity to hire and support persons with disability by:

  • Providing education on concussion/ brain injury, communication strategies, accommodations and practical strategies to employers
  • Implementing individualized return-to-work plans by working collaboratively with employers and their employees
  • Providing mental health and wellbeing support to employees through one-to-one support and peer support groups

The project team is developing an innovative training and support program that will be offered at no cost to employers based in Ontario. Two virtual training programs will be tailored to the needs of employers and survivors of concussion/ brain injury.

To further support the return to work process, the project team will provide ongoing support, through access to an Occupational Therapist and Social Worker. Our team will assist you (the employer) by:

  • Providing consultation around implementing accommodations and guidance on gradual return to work process
  • Assessing job tasks and ensuring the position is a good fit for your employee
  • Working with you and your employee to problem-solve any setbacks and obstacles
  • Supporting your employee’s mental wellbeing

The program will support employees returning to their place of employment following a concussion/ brain injury and will assist employers to create accessible and inclusive workplaces. Follow along for project updates and details:

Summer 2023 – The Project Begins

The Return to Work team has been hired and began to conduct initial research on concussion/brain injury, mental health and the return to work process.

Fall 2023 – Focus Groups and Program Development

The project team hosted focus groups, speaking with and learning from survivors of concussion/ brain injury and employers. We will use this information to develop our training program and shape the ongoing support.

Winter 2024 – Pilot Program Expected to Begin

Stay tuned for more information.

The Return to Work Team:

Zoe Fallis, OT Reg. (Ont.)
Project Lead

Mackenzie Klauck, RSW
Mental Health Coordinator

Opeyemi Adegbemi
Program/Research Coordinator

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The views expressed in this program are the views of the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.




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