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Workplace Mental Health

What is the issue?

Workplaces can play an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. They can give people the opportunity to feel productive and be a strong contributor to employee wellbeing. Yet it can also be a stressful environment that contributes to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses. No workplace is immune from these risks and we cannot afford to limit our definition of occupational health and safety to only the physical.

With most adults spending more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, addressing issues of mental health at work is vitally important for all people in Canada. Seventy per cent of Canadian employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace, and 14 per cent don’t think theirs is healthy or safe at all. Such workplaces can take a detrimental personal toll as well as contribute to staggering economic costs.

About 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually.  In 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.

What are we doing?

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is committed to helping employers create and maintain mentally healthy workplaces by providing the tools, information, and support needed to ensure that every person in Canada can go to work knowing their organization recognizes the importance of psychological health and safety in the workplace.

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard)

A voluntary set of guidelines, tools, and resources to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work.

Watch this video to learn more about the Standard and why it is important to take action today.       

Supporting the implementation of the Standard – In all industries

  • Resources to help organizations create more mentally healthy work environments.
  • Case Study Research Project of over 40 organizations to identify and understand promising practices for implementing the Standard.
  • Assembling the Pieces Toolkit a free online toolkit to support organizations working to implement the Standard.
  • 13 Factors customizable posters reinforce positive actions to support psychological health and safety in the workplace. This poster series features the 13 psychosocial factors, as described in the Standard. Each poster has a customizable space enabling organizations to showcase internal programs and initiatives aligned with these factors.
  • The MindsMatter tool was developed by CivicAction in collaboration with a group of employers, experts, and people with first-hand experience of mental health issues.  By the end of 2019, more than 1500 organizations have taken the assessment that now have the actions to benefit as many as 3.1 million employees. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is honoured to have been given stewardship of the tool as of January 2020. 

Supporting the implementation of the Standard – In healthcare settings

Post-secondary students Standard
The MHCC is embarking in a two-year project to develop a National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety for post-secondary students. Get involved!

Training tools

Free Monthly webinars on workplace mental health promotion                                                               

Learn more about our monthly webinar series created specifically to discuss psychological health & safety in the workplace.

The newly released white paper that helps to shed light on understanding mental health, mental illness, and their impacts in the workplace based on a recent survey that Morneau Shepell undertook in partnership the Globe and Mail.

Related Initiatives
The Working Mind

Workplace Mental Health and Wellness Summary

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Aspiring Workforce

What is the Aspiring Workforce?


The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created a number of resources to support all employers in creating and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces. Click on the links below for more information.

Long before the pandemic, women were regularly forced to put their careers on the back burner. Whether caring for children or sick or elderly relatives, women were more likely than men to take on caregiving responsibilities that compete with their working life.
Learn on the importance of addressing the two psychosocial factors specifically linked to workers’ chronic stress in health-care settings: protection from moral distress and support for psychological self-care.
Purpose High level overview of the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students. This pamphlet discusses how and why the standard came into being. Suitable...
Want to create a workplace mental health strategy but don’t know where to start? Wondering how to make the case with your senior management on what difference it will make?...
Executive Summary A disproportionate number of people with serious mental illness in Canada are unemployed or detached from the labour market, and the numbers of people with mental illness transitioning...
Description: Join the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada for a webinar with Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, a Clinician Scientist and the Physician-in-Chief...
ABOUT THIS TOOLKIT The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) gives organizations in all sectors a framework for promoting mental health and...
Description: When developing or amending impairment policies, it is important to keep a balance between the employees’ needs and the employers’ needs, as well as to ensure the physical and...
Description: Individual characteristics, personal life, events, environmental factors, working conditions… It is sometimes difficult to identify the cause of workers’ mental health problems. This webinar discusses the Salveo study, one...