Stacey Wareham is the recipient a pilot project funding for 2008-2009.
Exploring the Health Impacts of Workers Participating in the Community Enhancement Employee Support Program: A Community -Based, Participatory Action Approach
Who is conducting the study?
Stacey Wareham, PhD. Co-supervised by Dr. Barbara Neis (MUN), Professor Katherine Lippel (University of Ottawa), and Dr. Arla Day (Saint Mary’s University)
What is your project about?
Industrial restructuring within the fisheries and forestry sectors of NL have contributed to employment precariousness in rural and remote communities that has been ongoing for almost two decades (Neis & Grzetic, 2005). Provincial government response to employment precarity has included the creation of a variety of different Employment Support Programs (ESP) the most recent version of which is the Community Enhancement Employment Program (CEEP). The purpose of the CEEP is to provide underemployed persons with supplementary work to top up their regular employment with enough hours to be eligible for Employment Insurance. These projects are administered in communities by sponsors – often non-profit organizations such as churches, municipal councils, local service district committees, and Women’s Institutes (Government of NL, 2006). These work programs often consist of short-term, labor intensive projects in rural communities and involve such activities as roadside brush clearance, trail development, and building repair and maintenance.
Each year approximately 300 work projects are funded through the Community Enhancement Employment Program (CEEP) employing, on average, 1900 workers throughout NL each year. These work projects have received little attention from researchers – particularly those interested in health impacts. Discussions with the Department of Municipal Affairs Employment Support Program (ESP), Government Services OHS and NL Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) representatives suggest the health and safety of these workers is a source of concern specifically with respect to injury rates and mental health impacts.
What do you hope to learn from your project?
This project aims to determine:
- Workers’ and employers’ general perceptions about CEEP work projects including the benefits and shortcomings of this program;
- OHS training and awareness among CEEP supervisors and employers;
- Injury reporting patterns based on self-reported work-related injury from survey results;
- Physical and mental health risks associated with these types of jobs (e.g., workload, social support, stigma, etc.);
- The relationship between gender and work environment;
- Workers’ and employers’ general perceptions concerning compensation, coverage, claims practices, and benefits; and,
- Policy maker, employer, and worker concerns and recommendations related to promoting the health of workers employed on CEEP work projects.
I recently conducted 5 individual interviews and 2 focus groups with participants of the CEEP in a rural community in Newfoundland. I will continue to recruit participants for the study in three additional communities across the province.