Canada develops world’s first psychological health and safety standard for workplaces

Unreasonable job demands? Little to no control over your job? Lack of recognition, fairness, or support? These are the main contributing factors to mental injury according to a new national standard entitled ‘Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.’

Currently, one in five Canadians suffers from mental health problems annually. Absenteeism due to depression and anxiety, among other mental illnesses, has a huge impact on Canada’s economic well-being. Approximately 500,000 employees are absent from work each week due to mental illness, resulting in an economic loss of $50 billion or 2.3 percent of Canada’s GDP.

Now Canada leads the way in promoting psychological health and safety in the workplace with its first ever national standard – and businesses can take advantage of the strategy to create a safer and more profitable workplace.

Developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), the voluntary standard aims to help organizations by providing an easy-to-understand guideline for prevention, promotion, and staged policy implementation. The MHCC encourages employers to implement the standard through the following steps:

  1. Review and commit to the standard

  2. Identify a champion for psychological health and safety in your workplace

  3. Actively involve employees to help identify gaps in your workplace

  4. Use the tools in the standard to:

    • Prevent mental injury

    • Reduce psychological risk

    • Promote good mental health

  5. Develop a policy statement around Workplace Psychological Health and Safety

  6. Communicate this policy to employees