MP Cathy McLeod reports on mental health in the workplace

Workplace mental health has a $51 billion economic impact on businesses across Canada

Report by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod

We have all read about the increase of mental health issues in the workplace, with reports of nearly a quarter of the country’s working population currently affected by mental health problems or illnesses leading to absenteeism and turnovers.

In fact, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, workplace mental health has a $51 billion economic impact on businesses across Canada, and in the next 30 years it is estimated to reach $198 billion in current dollars.

At the beginning of 2014, the Minister of Labour, asked me to investigate this critical issue and  conduct consultations across Canada, meeting with academics, employers, employee groups, mental health agencies and most importantly to analyze the federal government funded implementation of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s ‘Mental Health in the Workplace Standard’.

As I conducted these consultations it became very apparent that businesses and groups across Canada are increasingly more invested in the mental well-being of their employees, however many are having challenges with implementing ‘the Standard’. Many stakeholders suggested a ‘how-to guide’ would be most welcome.

Just this week, the Mental Health Commission acted on this key recommendation by launching a hands-on, easy to use handbook entitled Assembling the Pieces: An Implementation Guide to the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. I would encourage all employers to review this voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources to better help the psychological health and economic well-being of their workplaces. Upon the completion of my report and recommendations to the Minister, I am confident that our Government will continue to focus on this critical issue for Canadians.