Prevention is the Best Medicine

Prevention is the Best Medicine is a toolkit designed for settlement agencies and others to teach newcomers to Ontario about (1) occupational health and safety (OHS), and (2) workers' compensation.

The toolkit contains everything needed to deliver instructional sessions on these two separate, but related, topics within an Ontario context. Included are sample lesson plans and slide show presentations for workshop leaders, as well as handouts for participating newcomers.

Full toolkit

Download the complete Prevention is the Best Medicine toolkit (compressed zip file, 7.1 MB), including all modules listed below.

Separate modules


Occupational health and safety

Workers' compensation

Why this toolkit is needed

The need for such a toolkit was demonstrated in a 2011 study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) that explored the experiences of immigrants who had been injured on the job. The study found that injured newcomers had little knowledge about their occupational health and safety rights and responsibilities, or about the workers' compensation system.

IWH then conducted a national scan of online safety resources for recent immigrants. It found few that were focused on health and safety or workers' compensation.

In the wake of these findings, IWH developed the Prevention is the Best Medicine toolkit to fill help fill this information gap.

How the toolkit was developed

This toolkit was developed by a research team from the Institute for Work & Health. The team included IWH Scientists Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, Dr. Peter Smith, Dr. Curtis Breslin and Dr. Ron Saunders, as well as Research Associate Marni Lifshen. The team worked in partnership with the following stakeholders:

  • Injured Workers' Consultants
  • Skills for Change
  • Workers Health and Safety Centre
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
  • Ontario Ministry of Labour
  • Workplace Safety and Prevention Services
  • Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers.

The toolkit's modules were piloted at a settlement agency in Toronto, with the aim of integrating the modules into existing job-search programs.

By working with stakeholders and the settlement agency, the research team was able to design a resource specifically tailored to the needs of settlement agencies and newcomers in Ontario.

Manitoba version

The Prevention is the Best Medicine toolkit has been adapted by Manitoba's Workers Compensation Board and Safe Work Manitoba for newcomers to that province.