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A Challenge to all Provinces to Promote Workplace Mental Health & Safety Standard

Half a million Canadians miss work due to mental health issues costing $50 billion per year.

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About the Author

Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn is the MPP for Oakville. He is the Minister of Labour, and has held the following positions: Chief Government Whip, Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure. He has been involved in Oakville politics since he was elected in 1986.

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I’m  issuing a challenge to all provincial and territorial governments in Canada to endorse the National Standard of Canada for psychological health and safety in the workplace. We’ve spearheaded Ontario’s move to endorse the Standard, which received all party support in September last year. This challenge comes on the heels of a Twitter chat I hosted earlier today with the hashtag MindsAtWork.

The hour long Twitter chat explored a number of pressing issues concerning mental health in the workplace, with input from mental health organizations, community leaders, business representatives, not to mention a range of people who have been impacted by mental health issues in one form or another.

When Ontario opted to endorse the National Standard, we sent a clear message to the people of our province that, as a government, regardless of party affiliation, the health and safety of Ontario workers is our priority. These standards are good for business and productivity. Bell was the first company to endorse the national standard and lead many others to follow their lead. I believe workers across Canada need that same assurance and this is why I am challenging each of the provincial and territorial governments to turn their attention to mental health in the workplace and follow Ontario’s lead in endorsing the National Standard.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), on any given week, half a million Canadians miss work due to mental health issues. The cost to the Canadian economy is estimated at more than $50 billion each year. Many Canadian businesses are recognizing the impact of mental health on their bottom line and are taking action. These new National Standards help employers take action and promote a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.”

The #MindsAtWork Twitter chat, which was trending across Canada, showed that people are encouraged by the open discussion on workplace mental health and want to see businesses and governments promote a culture that supports mental health and safety in the workplace.

The Twitter chat can be found online at http://tweetchat.com/room/mindsatwork.

The National Standard of Canada titled “Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, Promotion and Guidance to Staged Implementation” is a voluntary standard developed by the MHCC that focuses on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors.

The Standard provides a systematic approach for companies by:

  • The identification of psychological hazards in the workplace;
  • The assessment and control of the risks in the workplace associated with hazards that cannot be eliminated (e.g. stressors due to organizational change or reasonable job demands);
  • The implementation of practices that support and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace;
  • The growth of a culture that promotes psychological health and safety in the workplace;
  • The implementation of measurement and review systems to ensure sustainability.


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