WorkSafeBC PCU-WHS Scholarship Pilot Project

Scholarship will help build a culture of accommodation

Toward achieving professional competence in managing workplace disabilities
WorkSafeBC and the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences (PCU-WHS) have joined in offering a unique scholarship program designed to improve return-to-work outcomes for injured workers in British Columbia.

The scholarship program allows 25 students, on a two-year pilot-project basis, to transfer into the Bachelor of Disability Management degree program at PCU-WHS, after completing relevant educational prerequisites.

Disability Management Professionals navigate effectively across all parts of the workplace spectrum, collaborating with workers, employers, unions, health care providers, and workers’ compensation boards to maintain workers’ connections to the workplace and facilitate early, safe return-to-work outcomes for those who are injured.

A $6,000 scholarship will be awarded per student to cover most of the tuition costs for each of the two years it will take them to complete the degree program. WorkSafeBC is contributing up to $150,000 per year for each of the next two years for this purpose.

Improving return-to-work outcomes for injured workers

Research has shown that workers who sustain injuries or have mental health conditions experience physical, psychological, social, and financial benefits when they maintain an attachment to their workplace.

Without effective programs to manage workplace disabilities, loss of employment due to a disabling condition is a key contributor to poverty in Canada. More than 80 percent of physical and mental health injuries occur during an individual’s working life. Almost 25 percent of all Canadians living in poverty today ? an estimated 1.2 million individuals ? are people with disabilities.

A significant aim of the WorkSafeBC and PCU-WHS scholarship initiative is to avoid workplace injuries becoming disabilities by educating and training highly qualified Disability Management Professionals to help build a culture of accommodation in B.C. workplaces through effective job retention and Disability Management efforts.

This scholarship will also increase the availability of Disability Management Professionals for WorkSafeBC’s internal workforce, as well as for other B.C. employers.

Prerequisites and transfer-credit considerations

Students are eligible for the scholarship after completing a two-year diploma or other educational prerequisites in a range of disciplines, but preferably in human resources, occupational health and safety, healthcare, social work, or business. The percentage of tuition costs the $6,000 annual scholarship per student covers will be contingent on the number of transfer credits with which prospective students enter the program.

A joint advisory board comprised of representatives from WorkSafeBC, PCU-WHS, employer and worker organizations, the International Disability Management Standards Council (IDMSC), and relevant academic participants will provide guidance and support for the two-year pilot scholarship program.