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Workplace mental health on the agenda at Queen’s Park

September 26, 2013

A new private member’s bill is calling on the provincial government to endorse the new National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

Kevin Flynn MPP

Kevin Flynn, MPP Oakville

Accompanied by Kimbalin Kelly, board chair for the CMHA Halton Branch, Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn introduced his bill on September, 12, 2013. Flynn urged members of the legislature to support the new standard, known as Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, Promotion and Guidance to Staged Implementation. The standard focuses on promoting psychological health and preventing psychological harm in the workplace.

“The cost of mental illness in terms of lost profitability, lower productivity and human resource issues is staggering,” said Flynn, chair of the legislature’s Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions. “One source reported that the cost could be as high as $30 billion in Canada.”

“Kevin has shown tremendous leadership in the area of mental health and addictions and we thank him for bringing this motion to the floor of the legislature,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “The move toward creating a psychologically-positive workforce is compelling when you consider that each day a half-million Canadians are absent from their jobs because of mental health problems.”

At the end of debate, Flynn recognized Kelly and thanked the CMHA Halton Branch chair for her support of the National Standard of Canada.

The National Standard of Canada is a voluntary standard developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) that was launched in January. It provides a systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace by focusing on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors through:

  • 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

To read the full debate at Queen’s Park about the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety, visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website.

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