The Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) has released a new report: Advancing Workplace Exposure Surveillance in Canada. This report presents the proceedings of a workshop hosted by OCRC in March 2023, attended by approximately 60 stakeholders and scientific collaborators from Ontario and across Canada. The report outlines the presentations on current occupational exposure surveillance initiatives given at the workshop, and summarizes the challenges, resource needs, and next steps to improve occupational exposure surveillance in Canada, as identified by workshop participants.
Key findings from the workshop include:
- The key gap is the lack of access to current, high quality exposure data. Other challenges include lack of data from small companies; lack of data on emerging hazards; lack of coordination and data sharing within and across jurisdictions; and difficulties merging data from different sources.
- Skills and resource needs include standards and training to ensure consistent data collection, storage, job coding, and statistical analysis; centralized data repositories; and sustained long-term funding to create and maintain new databases.
- Recommended actions include:
- Short-term: Identifying existing Canadian exposure data holdings and priority hazards, developing a standardized database format and data sharing agreement, and engaging with relevant stakeholders.
- Medium-term: Digitizing existing exposure data, creating centralized data repositories, and developing a strategic plan to define goals and objectives.
- Long-term: Developing a national occupational exposure surveillance program, securing sustainable funding to maintain the program, and using the data to support occupational disease prevention and research.