IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

2020 : 40 Years of OHS Research

The IRSST celebrated its 40-year track record of research serving workplaces

In March 1980, the government mandated a working group to establish a body whose function was to conduct research in occupational health and safety. Their efforts led to the creation, on November 28, 1980, of the Institut de recherche en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), the only scientific centre of its kind in Canada. This parity organization was created to address needs expressed by the workplace community by carrying out or funding research in priority areas and to offer specialized laboratory services. In 1980, the IRSST was the only occupational health and safety research organization in this field.


The IRSST continued its activities during the pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic caused profound upheaval in the activities of all workplaces. The IRSST’s scientists proposed solutions to protect worker health. Numerous fact sheets, recommendations and tools were published on the IRSST’s web site with the participation of social partners, employer and worker representatives, and members of the Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board.

  • COVID-19 and occupational health and safety: the IRSST spent $795,208 on 10 COVID-related research projects
    The Institute launched a call asking Québec researchers to submit research proposals focused on developing solutions that would yield short-term results or advance knowledge of occupational health and safety issues in a pandemic context. Ten projects were selected and funded from among the roughly 60 proposals received.

Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ)

Under the BNQ’s supervision and with the CNESST’s collaboration, the IRSST participated as a technical and scientific expert in work on reusable single-use non-medical masks for workplaces. Its role concerned their technical specifications and quality criteria. The certification program launched as part of this collaborative initiative enabled manufacturers to obtain recognition of their product compliance.