OHC’s Annual Report highlighting our work for the past year is now live! Please take a look to see what we’ve been up to and where we’re headed. As always, we welcome community feedback. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the MFL Occupational Health Centre. Starting from the spark of an idea within the MFL and supported by the work of the MFL Health & Safety Committee, OHC was founded in 1983 by workers in Manitoba who did not have access to adequate, impartial occupational health care. The Centre opened its doors at Sherbrook and Westminster on April 8th, 1983, just two blocks from our present-day location. Today, OHC is a worker-centred community health clinic based in Winnipeg, specializing in occupational health and safety, one of the few occupational health centres in the country, and the only one between Thunder Bay and Edmonton.
The past year has certainly been an interesting one, as we’ve navigated the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we recognize that our collective risk is not over, OHC, like much of healthcare and social services, has looked to address the fallout of the ‘shadow pandemic’. Throughout these last several years, workers have dealt with increased risks to their physical and psychological health, not only from COVID but additionally from the psychosocial ramifications of our collective response – or lack thereof. As part of our Cross-Cultural Community Development Program, OHC convened discussion groups with newcomer workers to debrief the impacts of the pandemic and understand their experiences. We appreciate the contributions of those who so generously shared with us and will use this information as a guide to inform our future programming.
In addition to facilitating groups with workers specifically from newcomer communities, OHC has also increased our engagement with injured workers.
In spring 2022, our Occupational Health Nurses reinvigorated this work and, with the help of our social workers and Dr. Rob Chase, developed a focus group to discuss the best approach to provide support to workers who have been injured out of their field and are now dealing with the physical and psychological ramifications. The learnings we took from the workers who shared their experiences and their recommendations were helpful in developing a path forward: in partnership with an active Injured Worker Support Network in Thunder Bay, Ontario, OHC is undertaking programming to support capacity-building and give space to those who may need to share their experiences in a safe, supportive setting.
As we celebrate our 40th year, we’re looking forward to what the future brings – our recently completed strategic plan charts a course for OHC to strengthen our organization, widen our sphere of influence, enhance our existing offerings, and engage in meaningful equity work. We’re so grateful to the staff, board members, community trainers, partners, funders, and supporters who helped OHC develop this plan. It is a reflection of our community and renews our commitment to the workers of Manitoba to continue to strive toward our vision of healthy workers, healthy workplaces, and healthy communities.
OHC Board of Directors
Occupational Health Centre