MHCC, Canadian employers launch research project for workplace mental health
Toronto, Thursday, January 16, 2014
Three-year project will encourage national expansion of Workplace Standard
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.shopcsa.ca) and BNQ (www.bnq.qc.ca) websites.
Senior Advisor, MHCC Public Affairs
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