Cancer & Work
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About us

Welcome to is a website developed by Dr. Christine Maheu, from McGill University and Ms. Maureen Parkinson, from the British Columbia Cancer Agency and their core team members, in partnership with the de Souza InstituteAdvisory board members and expert writers made up of interdisciplinary clinicians, legal experts, management and policymakers, and academics also contributed to the content of the website.

The website provides detailed information and resources about returning to work for cancer survivors, healthcare providers, and employers. We continue to develop and test new resources on topics such as support for returning to work, staying or leaving work, and managing challenges after returning to work. We welcome your suggestions for improving the website and new topics to cover. Contact us to send your ideas and feedback.

Production of the website has been made possible through financial support from Health Canada and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The views expressed herein represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada or the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Team Leads

Christine Maheu

RN, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, McGill University

Principal Co-Investigator lead

Maureen Parkinson M.Ed. C.C.R.C – Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor

B.C. Cancer

Principal Co-Investigator lead

Co-Investigators Team Members

Lori Bernstein Ph.D., CPsych, University Health Network
Mary Jane Esplen RN, Ph.D., University Health Network
Claudia Hernandez PT, BPT, MRSc – Patient Representative
Margaret Oldfield M.E.Des., PhD
Mary Stergiou-Kita O.T., Ph.D., University of Ottawa
Margareth Zanchetta RN, Ph.D., Ryerson University
Mina Singh RN, Ph.D., York University

de Souza Institute Design Team

Learn more about de Souza Institute’s
courses for health professionals

Mathew Gancarz Hon. BSc
Darren Hewer MTS
Allan Holtzman BSc
Malcolm MacKinnon BFA

Advisory board and authors:

The Cancer and Work project would like to thank the following people for their contribution:
View profiles of our advisory board & authors

Community partners:

We would like to thank our following community partners for their reviews and contribution to some of the website’s content. Thank you to each of the community partners.
View our community partners

  • BC Cancer Agency
  • Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Principal Investigators and Project Leads

Dr. Christine Maheu

Dr. Christine Maheu, RN, PhD

Dr. Christine Maheu is an Associate Professor in the Ingram School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University and FRQS Chercheur Boursier Junior 2. Dr. Maheu is also an Affiliate Scientist at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto. At McGill University, she teaches research methods, supervises graduate students (masters, doctoral, post-doctoral), mentors practicing nurses and students in research, and conducts research in English and French. She has held research awards with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. These awards funded her research in psychosocial oncology, which focuses on developing and testing psychosocial interventions or measurements tools for various cancer populations. Additionally, in partnership with Ipsos Canada and funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, she is co-leading a nationwide survey of the needs of cancer patients for transition care from the end of their treatment to three years after their diagnosis. Dr. Maheu received awards for excellence in nursing research (2013, 2015, 2016) from Ovarian Cancer Canada, the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology, and the Quebec Association of Nurses in Oncology.
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Ms. Maureen Parkinson

Ms. Maureen Parkinson, M.Ed. C.C.R.C

Ms. Maureen Parkinson is the province-wide vocational rehabilitation counsellor at the BC Cancer. She has also been vocational rehabilitation counsellor at a public rehabilitation hospital and vocational rehabilitation consultant to insurance companies and the court system. She has instructed and facilitated Service-Canada-funded programs on job searching and career exploration. Ms. Parkinson has a Masters in Counselling Psychology, is a Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor, and completed the Certified Return to Work Coordinator Program through the National Institute for Disability Management and Research. She has developed return-to-work and job-search seminars for cancer patients and created the guidebook “Cancer and Returning to Work: A Practical Guide for Cancer Patients” as well as on-line articles about returning to work and school. She also co-authored a paper commissioned by the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, “Cancer and Work: A Canadian Perspective”.
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Project Team Members and Co-Investigators

Dr. Lori Bernstein

Dr. Lori Bernstein, PhD, CPsych

Dr. Lori Bernstein is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist and works as a clinician investigator in the Department of Supportive Care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and holds a faculty position in the Graduate Psychology program at York University. Dr. Bernstein’s clinical practice includes neuropsychological assessment and psycho-educational interventions to teach patients self-management skills to better cope with cognitive impairment during and after cancer treatment. Her research focuses on understanding and characterizing cognitive changes that cancer and/or its treatment has on people and ways to help cancer survivors improve functioning so they can return to pre-cancer activities.
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Dr. Mary Jane Esplen

Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, RN, PhD

Dr. Mary Jane Esplen is a Full Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Dr. Esplen is also an Affiliate Scientist at University Health Network and the inaugural Director of the de Souza Institute, a knowledge translation centre with education and support programs in oncology or palliative care. She has held career scientist awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. These awards funded her research in psychosocial oncology, which focuses on developing and testing psychosocial interventions or measurement tools for various cancer populations. Dr. Esplen received the lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology.
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Ms. Claudia Hernandez

Ms. Claudia Hernandez, PT, BPT, MRSc

Ms. Claudia Hernandez’s personal experience as a cancer survivor, clinical experience in cancer rehabilitation, and passion for patient and family education and patient advocacy have motivated her to promote and support patient engagement at every possible level of the health, education, and labour systems and in cancer and community-based organizations. She is a registered physiotherapist in Ontario with a master’s degree in rehabilitation sciences from the University of British Columbia. She participated in curriculum development of the oncology module for the Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging Program at the University of Toronto. She is a patient representative to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Breast Cancer Network.
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Dr. Margaret Oldfield

Dr. Margaret Oldfield, M.E.Des., PhD

Dr. Margaret Oldfield is a social scientist and the postdoctoral scholar on the project. Her pre-doctoral career encompassed the fields of social policy, education, employment, disability rights, women’s issues, and community health. She received a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from University of Toronto in 2015 and a Certificate of Advanced Training in Qualitative Health Research Methodology. Her dissertation explored how women with fibromyalgia, a chronic illness, stayed at work. Dr. Oldfield’s research interests include workplace disclosure, discrimination against employees with chronic illnesses, factors other than illness that push these employees out of the workforce, and alternatives to workplace accommodations that do not require disclosing difference. She also is a writer, an academic editor at Ryerson University, and a collaborator with the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy.
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Dr. Mary Stergiou-Kita

Dr. Mary Stergiou-Kita, PhD

Dr. Mary Stergiou-Kita is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, an Adjunct Scientist at the Institute of Work & Health, and an Affiliate Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network. Dr. Stergiou-Kita’s program of research focuses on developing tools that enhance work re-integration across populations, including cancer. She aims to bridge health and employment contexts, develop strategies that enhance workplace supports, clinical practice, and improve work outcomes. Dr. Stergiou-Kita has developed best-practice recommendations for determining work readiness and conducted research in the areas of workplace accommodations, workplace stigma, discrimination, and disclosure following cancer.
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Dr. Margareth Zanchetta

Dr. Margareth Zanchetta, RN, PhD

Dr. Margareth Zanchetta is an Associate Professor in the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in the disciplines of nursing and education. Throughout her career as an oncology clinician, she has had countless opportunities to apply her knowledge of Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of popular education to the area of self-care. This work preceded her research in individual and family health literacy and in culture-specific care.
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Dr. Mina Singh

Dr. Mina Singh, RN, PhD

Dr. Mina Singh is a faculty member in the School of Nursing at York University and was the Coordinator of the Program Evaluation Unit from 2011-2013, at the York Institute for Health Research.‎ She is presently Associate Director, Research. She has been a program evaluator for over 16 years and has conducted several types of evaluations (input, process, outcome and impact) and has developed a methodological framework which is being used internationally and nationally for evaluation. She has been a co-investigator on several projects relating to Fear of Recurrence of Breast Cancer. She teaches research methods to both undergraduate and graduate students and is a statistician.
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Technology and Media Development

Mathew Gancarz

Mr. Mathew Gancarz, Hon BSc

Mr. Mathew Gancarz leads the Information Technology (IT) Operations at de Souza Institute where he manages the technology platforms and course development team. With an extensive background, Mathew is ensuring that de Souza Institute has the most innovative platform possible for its learners. Mathew brings to the team a wealth of experience in both the public and private sector. Prior to joining de Souza Institute, he worked at the Research Information Systems (RIS) department at the University Health Network. At RIS, Mathew was responsible for managing and initiating many other projects dedicated to improving the IT environment utilized by UHN Researchers. Mathew holds a Bachelor of Science in Computational Physics with Honours from the University of Waterloo as well as Microsoft, Apple and Cisco certifications and a certificate in the Management of Enterprise Data Analytics from the University of Toronto.
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Darren Hewer

Mr. Darren Hewer, MTS

Mr. Darren Hewer is a web developer whose full-stack development work includes collaboration with companies like Mackenzie Investments, Toronto Star, and Blue Ant Media to create dynamic modern websites. With de Souza Institute he has contributed to several projects including their own corporate website, Cancer and Work, and Cancer Chat. Darren holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph in Information Systems and Human Behaviour, and a Master’s degree from Tyndale University College & Seminary in Theological Studies.
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Allan Holtzman

Mr. Allan Holtzman, BSc

As an Instructional Designer, Allan works with de Souza Institute Educators and subject matter experts to develop engaging and interactive eLearning courseware. He is an experienced teaching and training professional and brings a strong understanding of adult learning, instructional design principles and attention to detail to all projects. In the past Allan has worked with large Fortune 500 clients (Ford, AstraZeneca, Citigroup Financial, Loblaw Companies Limited, OLG, RIM, Enbridge). Allan holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Western Ontario, and is in the process of completing a Master’s Certificate in Adult Training and Development.
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Malcolm MacKinnon

Mr. Malcolm MacKinnon, BFA

Mr. Malcolm MacKinnon is currently a multi-media developer at de Souza Institute. Prior to the de Souza Institute, Malcolm worked independently as a freelance photographer. Malcolm uses his wide range of design, video editing, layout, photography and programming skills to create new and engaging instructional and marketing content with the rest of the de Souza IT team. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ryerson University.
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de Souza Institute, IT partner

Continuing education in cancer and palliative care

de Souza Institute provides expertise in online learning development and the platform of the Cancer and Work project. The design team at de Souza Institute prepares courses and resources that are interactive and engaging, using best design practices, knowledge of learning theory and user experience design. de Souza Institute is a national knowledge transfer centre at UHN that delivers standardized continuing education programs to healthcare professionals to enhance their expertise in providing the best possible cancer and palliative care. It also hosts Cancer Chat Canada, an online support program for patients and caregivers. Offerings are online for easy access, with the occasional webcast or in-person workshop to address competency-based training requirements. All courses are designed to be clinically-relevant for the front line practitioner, kept up to date with latest evidence and approaches, and cover the entire cancer trajectory from prevention and screening, to diagnosis and treatment, survivorship and palliation. Additionally, de Souza Institute allows learners to earn credits leading to a professional designation, representing excellence in oncology and palliative care.
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Advisory Board and Authors

The Cancer and Work project would like to thank the following people for their contribution:

View profiles of our advisory board & authors

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