New Canada Research Chairs to focus on farm injury prevention and public policy

Catherine Trask

Catherine Trask

University of Saskatchewan researchers Catherine Trask and Daniel Béland have been awarded Canada Research Chairs (CRC) to further their work to protect farm workers from injury and better understand social policy and taxation.

Trask works with farmers and other agricultural workers, healthcare professionals and policy stakeholders to help preserve the health of working Canadians in agriculture and other industries. She is an assistant professor with the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA) in the U of S College of Medicine.

“The CCHSA has long been a leader in the health of farmers. This investment will allow us to address musculoskeletal disorders like back injuries for the first time among agricultural workers,” Trask said. “Research on how these conditions develop and how we can prevent them will have an impact on the health of workers in Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada.”

Trask will receive $100,000 per year over five years from her Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health, as well as $106, 161 in associated Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) equipment funding.

Béland is working to explain policy stability and change as they apply to taxation and social policy, and the interactions between the two. He is a professor with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, a joint initiative of the U of S and the University of Regina.

Béland’s work will help Canadians and people elsewhere around the world grasp the changing nature of fiscal and social policies in contemporary society, while improving their knowledge about the root causes and the direction of policy change.

“Studying the politics of fiscal and social policy is more crucial than ever, especially given the debt crisis in the European Union and the United States, and the future of fiscal federalism in Canada,” Béland said. “My research will break new ground by offering a more systematic look at the taxation component of welfare state development and of the politics of policy development.”

Béland will receive $200,000 per year over seven years through his Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Public Policy.

“This $1.9-million federal investment and associated CFI funding recognizes two of our outstanding faculty whose innovative research programs  will create  new knowledge  to guide decisions right from the highest level of government policy making, to practical solutions to keep farmers and their families safe from injury,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad.

Funds from CRCs  are used for the researchers’ salaries and for operating their research programs. The chairs also leverage substantial funding from other sources. For example, CRCs receive operating funds from the Saskatchewan government to set up their research programs. These in turn provide training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Gary Goodyear, federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, made the national announcement of the new Canada Research Chairs today at Western University in London, Ontario.

“Our government is committed to attracting and retaining the world’s best and brightest researchers, supporting innovation, creating jobs, and strengthening our economy,” Goodyear said. “By investing in programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, we are fostering cutting-edge research and the generation of new innovations for the marketplace, for the benefit of Canadians.”

In total, the federal will provide $90.6 million for 120 newly awarded and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 39 institutions across the country, as well as $4.5 million in associated CFI funding.

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