Canadian employers will have added support to improve employee psychological health and safety thanks to the formation of a new Canada-wide standard, the Mental Health Commission of Canada said at a public event unveiling the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
There will be a 60-day public review process held in the fall. The completed standard is scheduled for release in 2012. (WCxKit)
“The economic burden of mental disorders in Canada has been estimated at $51 billion per year, with almost $20 billion coming from workplace losses,” said MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley.
“The requirements for an employee's physical health and safety in the workplace are a long-standing concern for Canadian employers. Now it is time to consider the mental well being of the workforce the same way,” Bradley continued.
Once finished, the voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace will provide organizations with the tools to achieve measurable improvement in psychological health and safety for Canadian employees.
MHCC is championing the development of the standard, working collaboratively with the Bureau de Normalization du Quebec (BNQ) and the CSA Standards. A committee of health and safety professionals, labor representatives, executives, government representatives, experts in law and policy, and other groups was created by BNQ and CSA Standards to develop it.
Funding for this project was provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Bell.
“The Government of Canada applauds the efforts to improve the psychological health and safety of Canadian employees, recognizing that a healthy workforce is essential to Canada's economic prosperity,” said Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of HRSDC and Minister of Labor.
“The public consultation period this fall is an important opportunity to develop a Standard that works for Canadians and I would encourage all stakeholders to remain engaged in its creation,” Leitch remarked.
Mental health problems and illnesses are the leading cause of workplace disability in Canada, representing 15 percent of Canada's burden of disease. A Canadian Medical Association study in 2008 indicated only 23 percent of Canadians surveyed said they feel comfortable talking to an employer about their mental illness.
The advantages of a psychological standard for employees include protection from psychological harm in the workplace and the promotion of psychological well being.
For employers, the business case in favor of the new standard rests on four main parameters — enhanced cost effectiveness, improved risk management, increased organizational recruitment and retention as well as corporate social responsibility. (WCxKit)
The BNQ and CSA Standards plan to jointly manage the standard’s development process and publication. The standard will be developed as a “stand-alone” National Standard of Canada (NSC) inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers.
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