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Workplace - Mental Health

The evidence shows that one Canadian in five will experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year. Mental health problems and illnesses are a leading cause of worker absenteeism and disability in Canada; they are estimated to account for nearly 30% of all Long Term Disability (LTD) disability claims. These costs are covered by the employers. Mental health and safety is just as important as physical health and safety. Let's face it... there is no health without mental health.


Physical and Psychological Health

While our health is primarily our own responsibility, the workplace can and does play a significant role in our ability to manage both our physical and psychological (mental) health.

The workplace can play a role in helping or harming our psychological well-being.

A psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that promotes and supports employees' psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to their psychological health in negligent, reckless or intentional ways.

A psychologically healthy and safe workplace culture is one where there is:

  • zero tolerance for harassment, bullying etc.
  • strong support for fairness and respect
  • high level of agreement on the meaning of these terms
  • enhanced interpersonal skills among workers
  • increased levels of awareness, understanding and caring among workers
Psychological health and safety in the workplace

Download (PDF)


Psychological health and safety in the workplace

Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation

CSA Z1003-13 establishes a compelling ‘case for action’ from both a public health and an economic perspective. Adults spend more waking hours in the workplace than anywhere elseand this includes people living with mental health problems and illnesses. A healthy work life plays an essential part in maintaining good mental health and the workplace plays a key role in promoting health and preventing illness. Mental health or harm experienced in workplaces spills over into the well-being of families, communities and society at large.

National Standard

The standard is a very important part of creating a healthy workplace because It has been well demonstrated that before any workplace health promotion endeavours can succeed, it is important for employers to ensure they are providing a psychologically safe work environment.

Keep in mind that although there are many factors external to the workplace that can impact our psychological health and safety, this Standard addresses 13psychological health and safetyaspectsthat are within the control, responsibility, or influence of the workplace and that can have an impact within, or on, the workforce.

13 Workplace Factors

The 13 workplace factors that can have an effect on the psychological health and wellbeing of employees listed within the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace are:

  • Organizational Culture
    Is there trust, honesty and fairness?
  • Psychological and Social Support
    Are managers and workers supportive of each other and do they respond appropriately?
  • Clear Leadership and Expectations
    Does everyone know what they need to do?
  • Civility and Respect
    Are all interactions respectful and considerate?
  • Psychological Demands
    s there a good fit between the worker competencies, interpersonally and emotionally, and the job they do?
  • Growth and Development
    Are workers supported and encouraged in the development of their interpersonal, emotional and job skills?
  • Recognition and Reward
    Is there appropriate recognition, reward and appreciation for worker efforts?
  • Involvement and Influence
    Are employees included in decisions?
  • Workload Management
    Is there enough time to do the job right?
  • Engagement
    Do workers feel connected and motivated?
  • Balance
    Is there balance between work, family and personal time demands?
  • Psychological Protection
    Do workers feel safe to ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes, propose new ideas,etc.?

Download a copy of the CSA Standard Z1003-13

Download a copy of the CSA Standard Z1003-13; Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace - prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation CSA standard Z-1003-13.

Download (PDF)

Have THAT Talk

Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace videos

Learn how YOU and YOUR workplace can work to improve the 13 factors for psychological health and safety in the workplace. Visit have have THATtalk.ca to watch the whiteboard videos and learn more.

Created by Ottawa Public Health, each of the YouTube whiteboard video in this series has a facilitator’s guide to help get the conversation started. There are many uses for the videos in workplaces, including some of these suggestions:

  • view a video in a team meeting and talk about it with colleagues
  • use it as part of the orientation training for new employees
  • use as an awareness tool for managers and supervisors

Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

Learn more about The National Standard and the tools created to assist employers with understanding and implementing it by viewing the tools in the following links.

  • Great West Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace
    Free online training and tools to help manage workplace issues.
  • Guarding Minds @ Work
    A set of self-serve tools to assess and address factors known to impact employee psychological health and safety and evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.
  • Mental Health Works - Working Through It
    Video stories of reclaiming well-being at work, off work and returning to work.
  • On the Agenda
    Thisis a series of videos, presentation slides and supporting materials that can assist trainers, team leaders, managers or others to facilitate discussions aimed at developing a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
  • Working Through It
    Practical coping strategies, through videos and related resources, that can be used by individuals at work, off work and when returning to work.
  • Managing Mental Health Matters
    A "first of its kind" program focused on helping managers, supervisors and other leaders learn how to effectively recognize and manage mental health related issues in the workplace.

Other sources of information, support and resources

  • Mindful Employer Canada
    Support intended to improve workplace mental health and increase the ability of leaders to respond effectively to others through the provision of guidance and innovative and practical resources.
Date of creation: January 9, 2013
Last modified on: January 17, 2018