Chiropractic Care to Help People Work or Enter Training

Through the evolving Health2Work program, chiropractors provide treatment and guidance to help people receiving social assistance alleviate their spine, muscle or joint pain, so they can work or enter job-related training.

Infographic with stats to support Health2Work's results.

The Challenge:

      • Musculoskeletal (or spine, muscle and joint) conditions, including back and neck pain, as well as strains, sprains and headaches – are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and Ontario is no exception.1
      • Back and neck pain are among the top three drivers for both short-term and long-term disability claims in Canada.2
      • Spine, muscle and joint or musculoskeletal disorders have consistently been the leading type of work injury in Ontario during the past 10 years.3
      • When an injury affects a person’s spine, muscle or joints, it can hinder their ability to keep working, while healing. Then they can find it challenging to re-enter the workforce.

The Health2Work program is an innovative solution that removes these challenges for people receiving Ontario Works (OW) and non-disabled family members of a person on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

Building on Research and Results

Studies have shown people who receive chiropractic care are more likely to be physically able to work in a shorter duration of time.4

How the Health2Work Program Works

Health2Work offers chiropractic care to people receiving OW and non-disabled family members of a person on the ODSP to help them return to work or enter job-related training. It is funded by the Region of Waterloo.

Currently, OW caseworkers and employment facilitators initiate most referrals but physicians, nurse practitioners and other community-based agencies are also able to refer their clients to this program.

Once enrolled, Health2Work participants receive:

  • A comprehensive physical assessment
  • A diagnosis to find out what’s causing their pain
  • A treatment plan that specifically addresses their own needs
  • Education on how they can alleviate their pain and prevent further injuries or their condition from getting worse
  • Various treatments, such as therapeutic exercises they can do at home, soft tissue therapy, hands-on joint movement to relieve pain and improve motion or nutrition education
  • A physical readiness/capacity assessment that provides information that can help identify career and training goals that take their individual physical capabilities into consideration

Working with each participant’s caseworker, family physician/nurse practitioner and other health care professionals in their circle of care, the program’s chiropractors share the treatment and strategies they provide to help them.

We developed the Health2Work program in partnership with the Region of Waterloo, Community Services, Employment and Income Support team, Langs Community Health Centre and local chiropractors. The Region of Waterloo’s Employment and Income Support team in Community Services is responsible for administering Health2Work, as well as OW in the region.

Health2Work began accepting patients in Cambridge in the fall of 2018, officially launched in 2019 and has since expanded to now provide care for patients in Kitchener and Waterloo, as well.

How the Health2Work Program Helps Ontarians

Health2Work logo

Chiropractors working for the OW-funded program focus on the following goals:

      • Reducing each participant’s barriers to life stabilization and/or employment or retraining by providing timely assessments and chiropractic treatment to address their underlying spine, muscle or joint conditions.
      • Working with the Region of Waterloo, Community Services, Employment and Income Support team to help decide what steps a participant should take towards employment or job-related training programs, based on their physical capabilities.
      • Connecting with local health or community social services to help support each participant’s health and social needs.

How the Health2Work Program Can Help You:

If you receive OW or ODSP and have back, neck, shoulder pain, stiffness, an injury or arthritis that prevents you from working, Health2Work may be for you. It can offer you chiropractic care to help you get back to work or enter a job-related training program.

Eligibility Requirements

You may be eligible for the free-of-charge Health2Work Program if you:

  • Are receiving support from OW or you are a non-disabled family member of a person receiving support from the ODSP
  • Have back, neck or shoulder pain or stiffness, an injury, such as a sprain or strain, or arthritis that’s stopping you from working
  • Live in Cambridge, Kitchener or one of the evolving areas where Health2Work is available (Check the Health2Work website for updates on where this program is available.)

Attaining Care

If you you meet Health2Work’s eligibility requirements:

  1. Ask your caseworker, employment facilitator, physician, nurse practitioner or community agency about attaining a referral to the Health2Work program.
  2. If they refer you to Health2Work, the program will:
  • Assign you to a chiropractor, who will assess your condition and if the program will match your needs.
  • Provide chiropractic care to help you manage your spine, muscle or joint pain or stiffness, so you can work or enter job-related training programs (if you proceed with the program).
  • Assist with selecting job training programs that are a good fit for your physical abilities.

Chiropractors’ Impact

Working with our chiropractor consultants, we established Health2Work in collaboration with our partners, including local chiropractors, the Region of Waterloo and Langs Community Health Centre. The program continues in partnership with the Region of Waterloo and OCA. To date, five chiropractors deliver care to the program’s enrolled participants.


By the end of 2019, close to 70 participants had received chiropractic assessments through Health2Work and the early results are promising. Based on the preliminary outcomes, the program expanded into Kitchener in early 2020, as planned. 

Health2Work’s early evaluation results have shown significant demand for the program. A thorough independent, third party evaluation of Health2Work is in progress and is forthcoming.

What Health2Work Program Patients Say …

“I busted up my knee and after that I ended up with severe problems in my back and my neck. I’d been doing construction for a long time, but I wasn’t able to work. I’m back doing work as an electrician. Not long ago, I could barely get off the floor!”

Leroy Gallagher, Health2Work Patient

What Social Service Professionals and Other Stakeholders Say …

“Health2Work can help our clients living with chronic pain, receive help without the financial burden that was historically attached to getting any form of treatment.”

Carey, Caseworker, Ontario Works, Region of Waterloo

“This program is a significant partnership. Residents will have access to much needed chiropractic care. Where musculoskeletal conditions are barriers to participation in the workforce, this program has the potential to improve mobility, function and general quality of life, as well as to provide new opportunities for returning to work.”

Karen Redman, Regional Chair, Region of Waterloo

To learn more:

In the News:

Are you an OCA member?

[1] Storheim, K., Zwart, J. (2014).  Musculoskeletal disorders and the Global Burden of Disease study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 73(6). 949-950.
[2] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s 2016 report
[3] Ontario Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA).
[4] Blanchette, M., Rivard, M., Dionne, C.E., Hogg-Johnson, S., & Steenstra, I. (2017). Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 27(3). 382-392.