Data from the Canadian Labour Force Survey (1997) reveal that relatively few mid-life women offer ill health as a reason for leaving their job or downshifting to part-time employment, implying that the role of ill health may be inconsequential in effecting changing patterns in mid-life women's labour force activity. In contrast, interviews with 30 mid-life women (aged 40 to 54 years) illustrate that, although they do not offer illness as their main reason for leaving their job or working part-time, health is a determining factor. This research also maps the complex relationship between work and ill health, showing that stressful working conditions (due to funding cuts and policy changes) affected the mental and physical health of this group of mid-life women, which, in turn, influenced their decision to change their labour force activity. The author concludes that policy makers must recognize that ill health may be under-reported among mid-life women in large surveys and that research is needed that specifically examines women's working conditions as they relate to health. Such research should not be based solely on large surveys but must also include qualitative studies that capture women's experiences.