Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 5–6, pp 882–890 | Cite as

Self-reported work conditions in Canada: examining changes between 2002 and 2012

  • Jonathan K. FanEmail author
  • Peter M. Smith
Quantitative Research



To examine changes in self-reported work conditions over a 10-year time period in Canada, as measured using two comparable cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2002 and 2012.


Population-based data were obtained from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Work conditions (psychosocial work conditions, work hours, work demands, job satisfaction) were measured using the same modules across survey cycles. Regression models provided estimates for trends in work conditions, adjusting for differences in socio-demographic and survey administration characteristics over time.


We observed changes in self-reported work conditions across cycles, including higher levels of co-worker/supervisor support and job security; lower levels of psychological demands; and increases in shorter/regular work hours over time. These findings were consistent in both the base and adjusted models. Although skill discretion, decision authority, and job satisfaction improved over time in our base models, these findings were attenuated towards the null in adjusted models. Respondents in 2012 had a greater odds of reporting a physically demanding work environment compared to 2002. Differential time trends were observed by geographic region.


Our study found improvements in some self-reported measures of the psychosocial work environment in Canada over time. These changes were not accounted for by socio-demographic or survey administration differences across survey cycles. Despite these overall trends, absolute levels of some work conditions have not changed. Given the relevance of work conditions as a determinant of health, a continued focus on improving all aspects of the work environment should remain a public health priority to improve the health of working-aged Canadians.


Psychosocial work environment Work exposures Canada Trends 



Examiner les changements dans les conditions de travail autodéclarées au Canada sur une période de 10 ans, mesurées à l’aide de deux enquêtes transversales comparables menées en 2002 et en 2012.


Les données sur la population ont été tirées de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes. Les conditions de travail (environnement psychosocial du travail, heures de travail, exigences du travail, satisfaction professionnelle) ont été mesurées à l’aide des mêmes modules d’un cycle à l’autre de l’enquête. Des modèles de régression ont fourni des estimations des tendances dans les conditions de travail en tenant compte des différences dans les caractéristiques sociodémographiques et les caractéristiques d’administration de l’enquête au fil du temps.


Nous avons observé des changements d’un cycle à l’autre dans les conditions de travail autodéclarées, notamment des niveaux plus élevés de soutien des collègues et des superviseurs et de sécurité d’emploi; des niveaux moins élevés des exigences psychologiques; et des heures de travail plus courtes et plus régulières avec le temps. Ces constatations ressortent à la fois dans les modèles de base et les modèles ajustés. Mais bien que l’utilisation des compétences, la latitude décisionnelle et la satisfaction professionnelle s’améliorent au fil du temps dans nos modèles de base, ces constatations sont pratiquement annulées dans les modèles ajustés. Les répondants de 2012 étaient plus susceptibles de déclarer travailler dans un milieu physiquement exigeant que ceux de 2002. Des écarts dans les tendances temporelles sont observés selon la région géographique.


L’étude fait état d’améliorations de certains indicateurs de l’environnement psychosocial du travail au Canada avec le temps selon les déclarations des répondants. Ces changements ne s’expliquent ni par les différences sociodémographiques, ni par les différences dans l’administration de l’enquête d’un cycle à l’autre. Malgré ces tendances générales, les niveaux absolus de certaines conditions de travail restent inchangés. Étant donné la pertinence des conditions de travail comme déterminant de la santé, l’amélioration de tous les aspects de l’environnement du travail devrait donc demeurer une priorité pour la santé publique afin d’améliorer la santé des Canadiennes et des Canadiens en âge de travailler.


Environnement psychosocial du travail Exposition professionnelle Canada Tendances 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval for the secondary analysis of survey data was obtained from the University of Toronto Health Sciences Ethics Committee. Data were obtained from the record-level microdata files, accessed via Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centre.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Work & HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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