Western University and the Ontario Principals’ Council are collaborating on a vital research project focused on Canadian Principals’ Occupational Health, Safety and Well-being.


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The research project will provide

  • insight into the major challenges and opportunities school leaders face at work 

  • opportunities to compare working conditions and health with those of other professions and the average worker and 

  • insight for the development of evidence-informed approaches to promoting school leader health and well-being.


Updated and valid data is needed on principal wellness, health and safety. The following are the reasons we are doing research at this time: 

  • Principals' associations have been looking for valid data on principal wellness, health and safety for some time as the job of principal becomes increasingly complex.

  • Individual principals need information about the risks associated with the role and how to safeguard against those risks. 
  • Policy makers and employers need comprehensive information to be proactive in developing job-embedded supports that address the complex work of principals. 
  • Canadian research does not yet dig deeply into the issue, where other jurisdictions such as Australia, Finland, Ireland and New Zealand are using this type of work to inform practice. 
  • To support public education leaders who have unique roles within quality public education systems. 

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Online Research Tool

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We are developing a responsive online instrument adapted from The Principal Barometer that will assess the working conditions, health and overall well-being of principals. It will provide users with real-time, personalized feedback that will

  • empower principals as individuals to make informed choices about their health and well-being and

  • provide policymakers and researchers with actionable data they can use to improve principals’ occupational health and well-being. 

Research Participants

Principals working in public schools in Canada will be invited to participate in the study.

 Cones banner moving from small to large. Very small pilot Ontario. Larger Pilot Ontario. Moving beyond Ontario. All of Canada.

How Can You Support?

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There are many ways for you to support, including

*please email the letter of support to Lori Horan at lhoran@principals.ca


2024-25 Schedule


May - July

Preliminary interactive tool design
July – October  Build the online survey, ethical proposal submission and grant writing


Secure the required Ontario-based population sample to pilot survey

January – February 

Launch pilot survey for 8 weeks

March - May

Clean and analyze data from pilot survey

June - August

Revise instrument and write grant proposal

October – November

Launch data collection in Ontario












Question and Answer

Why this tool and approach? 

The Ontario Principals’ Council has, in the pastsupported several research studies, including Changes for Future-ready Education in Canada Report - OPC Summit on Public Education in Canada (September 2023), The Changing Nature of Vice-Principals' Work (June 2017) and Principals' Work and Well-Being in Ontario (July 2020) that help us understand what is happening regarding principal workload and wellness. This intervention adapts the Principal Barometer to provide principals with clear information about what can be done to better support the wellness of school leaders. 

Why are you using the term “intervention” for this work?
Intervention can be defined as “action taken to improve a situation, especially a medical disorder”.1 Through this work we intend to provide school leaders and policymakers with the tools they need to intervene to improve principals’ wellness. Specifically, we hope this longitudinal study will offer direct advice to school leaders and give them guidance on where to seek additional support. We also believe that the research will provide valuable data for policymaking changes that will positively and directly impact principals’ wellness. 
Will my participation be anonymous? 

Yes. It is an Ethics Office requirement that responses be anonymous. Identifiers will only be collected for longitudinal comparisons but not be included in the larger research analysisYour personal information will be confidential and nowhere in any publication or publicly available report will you be named. Only those directly involved in the research project will have access to the data.  

Will the tool be available in French? 

Yes. Once the tool has been validated, it will be translated and adapted for French minority language setting, and subsequently made available in French for the cross-Canada launch. 

Will vice-principals be part of the study? 

Yes, eventually. Currently, vice-principals will not be part of the study. It is our intention to adapt the intervention to vice-principals in the future.   

Will supervisory officers be part of the study? 

No. Supervisory officers will not be part of the study since we are only considering school leaders.   

When will the rest of Canada have access to the instrument?  

The rest of Canada will be brought into the intervention and have access to the instrument in 2026. Prior to doing so, the research team must validate the instruments, gather preliminary data and secure funding.  

Why are you looking for support now? 

The intervention is a long-term project. Demonstrating partnerships is a key element of success for the project and will increase our success rate as we seek funding.  

How is the project being funded? 
The project is being funded through grant applications and association support in the form of in-kind services or financial contributions. 

How will this help principal associations?  

Provincial principal associations will receive anonymous annual reports with aggregated data for their Members in addition to the data for Canada. Our hope is that the information in the reports will help provincial associations advocate for improved terms and conditions of employment.   

Will principal associations receive a report for their region? 

Yes. The intention is that in the future, associations will receive a report containing the data for their region. 

 Contact Information

Ontario Principals' Council: Dr. Nadine Trépanier-Bisson, Executive Director


Western University: Dr. Katina Pollock, Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy