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HomeMedia Centre › January 16, 2014 – MHCC, Canadian Employers Launch Research Project for Workplace Mental Health

January 16, 2014 – MHCC, Canadian Employers Launch Research Project for Workplace Mental Health

Three-year project will encourage national expansion of Workplace Standard

TORONTO – The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), along with its partners, CSA Group (CSA) and Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), joined Labour Minister Dr. K. Kellie Leitch alongside business and labour leaders today to announce new initiatives to improve workplace mental health across Canada. Following the successful launch one year ago of the world’s-first National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, the MHCC has announced plans to partner with more than 25 Canadian employers on a three-year research project aimed at driving uptake of the Standard across Canada.

“On any given week, roughly half a million Canadians will miss work due to a mental health problem or illness,” said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). “As a result, mental health problems have become more than a serious public health issue – it’s also a major economic issue facing Canadian business. The Standard is aimed at preventing mental injury, reducing absenteeism, and supporting a healthier, more competitive workforce.”

“Mental illness costs the Canadian economy $51 billion a year,” said The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. “That is why our Government is committed to promoting mentally healthy workplaces. We are proud to join with the MHCC and its partners to promote increased uptake across Canada of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace.”

The new case study research project will track workplaces across Canada as they adopt the Standard over the next three years, creating a solid knowledge base to inform national expansion of the Standard. In one short year, the response to the Standard has been positive, garnering government support and endorsement from some of Canada’s most prominent business leaders.

“Bell has embraced the Standard as part of our commitment to best practices in workplace mental health, a key pillar of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. “We look forward to participating in the research project, sharing our own experiences and results with workplace mental health to help other companies understand the value of implementing the Standard within their own organizations.”

In addition, tools such as the Standard are a helpful way to support working people through changes in the employment landscape.

“The reality of a changing economy and the workplace instability it creates faces all of us,” said Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “There is no question that in these uncertain times, workplace mental health is severely tested, and often affected.”

A global first for psychological health and safety, the voluntary Standard offers a framework of tools for employers to promote mental health and prevent psychological harm. The Standard was released on January 16, 2013 by the MHCC, the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), and CSA Group. Since then, it has been downloaded more than 16,000 times.

“The positive response we have received from businesses, stakeholders and individuals regarding the role this Standard is playing in improving workplace mental health is overwhelming,” said Bonnie Rose, President, Standards, CSA Group.

“The mental health of employees is as vital as their physical safety on the job and this Standard, combined with other occupational health and safety standards, is a testament to the commitment of participating organizations and stakeholders to play a leading role in helping to make Canada a leader in workplace health and safety issues.”

The development of this Standard was funded in part by the Government of Canada and through financial contributions from the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and

Bell Canada. It is available at no cost through CSA Group ( www.csagroup.org/z1003) and BNQ (www.bnq.qc.ca) websites.



Allison Gifford
Senior Advisor, MHCC Public Affairs

Advancing Workplace Mental Health: the Standard One Year Later

Supportive Quotes

“Creating and maintaining a healthier workplace is critically important to Manulife Financial and that’s what adopting this new standard helps us to do. We see working toward early adoption as a forward-thinking way for us to promote psychological health in the workplace, to increase employee satisfaction and retain our talented workforce. Just as importantly, we also believe that the promotion of a psychologically healthy and safe workplace will extend beyond the walls of our workplace into families, communities and society.” – Lisa Butler, Vice-President of Human Resources, Manulife Financial’s Canadian Division

“The response from the public, media and employers to the Standard has been really positive. CAMIMH is proud to promote workplace mental health in our awareness campaigns and congratulates employers who have adopted the Standard.” – Dave Gallson, Co-Chair, Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health.

“Excellence Canada is proud to join the MHCC and others in celebrating this important milestone of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Progressive employers see the opportunity to adopt the Standard and safeguard healthy minds as a business imperative for 2014. Excellence Canada is pleased to certify and recognize these exemplary organizations through the prestigious Canada Awards for Excellence for Mental Health at Work®.” – Allan Ebedes, President and CEO, Excellence Canada

“CMHA is committed to continued support of Canada’s first-ever workplace Standard. We are helping Canadian businesses – big and small – implement the Standard by offering specific training and support through our national Workplace Mental Health Program and annual national Bottom Line workplace conference and we are “walking the talk” to make the Standard come alive within our own national network of community CMHA locations.” – Peter Coleridge, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association

“There is an important role for all of us to play in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm in the workplace, and that includes everything from fostering a healthy work environment to helping eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. With our community and business partners we are committed to finding and advancing leading solutions to improving the mental health of Canadians. Adopting the Standard, which is the first set of tools of its kind in the world, is central to our commitment and responsibility as an employer and as an organization.” – Patrick Cashman, President, Lundbeck Canada

‘One year ago, a major step forward was taken with the launch of the Standard. Now, we need to get more and more companies on board and taking action to support mental health in the workplace – implementing the Standard and engaging their employees in conversation about creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace.’- Jeff Moat, president, Partners for Mental Health.

“One year ago, a major step forward was taken with the launch of the Standard. Now, we need to get more and more companies on board and taking action to support mental health in the workplace – implementing the Standard and engaging their employees in conversation about creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace.” – Jeff Moat, President, Partners for Mental Health.

“We recognize the need to address mental illness in the workplace, and along with our Workplace Mental Health program that helps employers address these issues, we believe implementing the Standard is key to an overall healthy working environment for all Canadians.” – Morgan Craig-Broadwith, Workplace Mental Health Manager, Canadian Mental Health Association (Calgary)

“Many Canadians spend the majority of their waking hours at work. Furthermore, we hear that 44 per cent of workers have or have had mental health issues on the job. If we want a productive population, we need to support a healthy corporate culture. The Canadian Nurses Association is committed to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s national standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace. Nurses are workers too. Our profession experiences some of the highest burnout rates. And because our work culture can affect the care Canadians receive, we firmly believe good mental health in the workplace is of the utmost importance.” – Barb Mildon, President, Canadian Nurses Association

“AGS Rehab is honoured to have been selected by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to participate in the case study project. We proudly recognize and support the importance of mental health in the workplace. Everyone benefits—the employee, the employer and the community—when we embrace this initiative.” – Addie Greco-Sanchez, President, AGS Rehab Solutions Inc.

About the Mental Health Commission of Canada

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide.  For more information about CSA Group visit www.csagroup.org

About Bureau de normalisation du Québec

Reporting to the Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ), the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) has acted as a central standardization and certification organization and disseminator of information on standards for over 50 years. Officially recognized by the Government of Québec, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the BNQ takes the lead in developing measures to support business, manufacturing, social and regulatory areas of interest.
For more information: www.bnq.qc.ca

The views represented herein solely represent the views of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Production of this document is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.


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The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change, an organization designed to recommend improvements to the mental health system on a national level. We are not directly involved in individual cases of advocacy, outreach, service delivery or local supports.