C-QWELS Project


The Canadian Quality of Work and Economic Life Study (also known as “C-QWELS” for short) is a nationally representative survey of Canadian workers.   

The first survey took place in September of 2019 with 2,500 workers. We then followed up with a new survey of another 2,500 workers in March of 2020.   

Combining those two samples, we have surveyed all those individuals again in April, May, June, August, October, and December of 2020. And we have continued the survey into 2021 (so far: February and April).   

Our plan is to continue to survey these same study participants throughout the pandemic and after it subsides. 

Key Questions:

The rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the lives of Canadians—across the socioeconomic spectrum, but especially those in more precarious work and financial circumstances. In the context of these historic transformations, we ask:  

(1) What are the short- and longer-term effects on the quality of work and economic life of Canadians?  

(2) How will these changes impact social, mental, and physical well-being over time?  

(3) What resources are most effective for coping to help weaken the harmful effects of role disruptions and strains?  

To answer these questions, we will trajectories of change in employment, work, and economic conditions over the course of the pandemic—with a focus on job insecurity and disruption, financial strain, and restructuring of the work-home interface. We also describe how these disruptions and transitions correspond to functioning—especially the sense of powerlessness, mistrust, social isolation, and loneliness—and then trace the consequences for sleep problems and different forms of emotional distress. 

A Brief Message to C-QWELS Study Participants

CAN-WSH Project


The Canadian Work, Stress, and Health study (CAN-WSH) is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of the Canadian workforce.  

The objective is to study the demands and resources in work and family life and their implications for stress and health among Canadians over time.

Data collection began in 2011 with approximately 6,000 Canadians across all regions of the country. Follow-up interviews occurred every two years: 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.  

The CAN-WSH study:  

(1) brings together measures from existing data sources and integrates them with new measurement innovations of work-family role blurring activities;  

(2) assesses comprehensive measures of the demands and resources in work and household roles;  

(3) collects longitudinal data on a national sample of adults that allows for the evaluation of selection processes and changes in health over time.  

“Selection” refers to transitions into and out of work and family roles. For example, a worker might change occupations or sectors, reduce paid work hours, or leave the paid workforce because of the onset of new family role responsibilities (e.g., the birth of a child, caring for an aging parent), high levels of work-family conflict, or poor health.  

US-WSH Project


The overarching aim of the United States-Work, Stress, and Health (US-WSH) project is to examine the effects of workplace conditions on stress and health. As the primary survey, data were collected from 1,800 working adults in the United States in 2005. Approximately 20 months later, all of these individuals were sought for a second interview. Successful interviews were achieved with approximately 71 percent of the original sample. 

We applied the stress process framework as a guiding theoretical model for the project. It posits that exposure to stressful role conditions can harm emotional and physical functioning. 

Other arms of this study rely on different sources of secondary data in the United States like the National Study of the Changing Workforce and the US General Social Survey.