Presentation W P8

W P8 (Poster Presentation):
Understanding the process of work rehabilitation in the context of intercultural encounters and interactions in Quebec

Presented by: Daniel Côté

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Côté D1,5, Gratton D2,3, Dubé J4, Gravel S4, White B3,5

  1. Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (Montréal)
  2. Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital (Laval)
  3. Laboratoire de recherche sur les relations interculturelles (Montréal)
  4. Université du Québec à Montréal (Montréal)
  5. Université de Montréal (Montréal, Canada)



In Canada, like in many Western countries, musculoskeletal disorders or chronic pain is a common cause for long term sick leave. It might be a major concern for the individuals as well as for their families and their workplace. Pain and disability may be challenging in establishing therapeutic alliance, partly because of diverging treatment expectancies or opinion regarding disability and the readiness to work. Studies suggest that diverging treatment expectancies be the major reason for treatment non-adherence, and this would be more critical among non-native patients. In Montreal (Québec) where this study takes place, about 35% of the workforce is of foreign origin. There is, however, limited knowledge of the interaction between those injured workers and health and services providers in Québec. According to a CSST estimate (Québec Workers ‘Compensation Board), almost 50% of workers affected by an occupational injury on the Island of Montreal would come from immigration.


This on-going qualitative, exploratory study uses a grounded theory design for describing, from a collection of open-ended interviews (about 60 interviews), the experience of four distinct categories of actors: CSST, workplace managers, immigrant and minority workers, and work rehabilitation services providers. The sampling is purposive and is based upon the principles of maximal variations. Workers are recruited on the basis of defining themselves as immigrants or belonging to an ethnocultural minority and of being on long-term sick leave (compensated by the CSST) and currently undergoing a work rehabilitation program. Other participants must have experienced at least one situation involving immigrants or minority workers and long-term sick leave. The interview format is inspired by Cohen-Émerique’s critical incident technique, Vermersch’s explicitation interviewing technique and Kleinman’s Illness Explanatory Model approach.


This presentation discusses preliminary results and emerging themes in intercultural encounters and work rehabilitation. By this four-way perspective, this study highlights converging and sometimes contrasting views regarding treatment and return to work expectancy, program theory and philosophy, communication challenges, decision making, roles of clinicians, etc. By the end of presentation, it will be possible to identify some perceived barriers and facilitators to the return to work process, and provide the audience with a deeper understanding of the strategies put forward by different stakeholders to overcome possible cultural barriers and expectations regarding intercultural competence training and organisational adaptations.


In sum, these preliminary results show that it is necessary to incorporate cultural background into research designs and integrate theories in intercultural communication in the field of disability management.

Schedule Details

Wednesday October 1
13:00 - 14:00 Poster Viewing
Session: Vulnerable workers & ethical issues