Whether we've sponsored development of a resource, collaborated with another organization, or are providing information from a third-party expert, the Centre works to make resources widely accessible through our website and other means, and turns that knowledge into practical strategies and tools for all employers in Canada.
Each of the following initiatives contributed in its own way to the advancement of learning and knowledge of workplace mental health.
The Centre has commissioned or supported numerous national surveys and research initiatives that help inform the development of solutions for employers to foster psychological health and safety in the workplace. Many of the results are featured under Research and Papers in our Media Centre.
Free public resources
The Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies) has worked with various organizations who have expertise in resource development. Working with them has led to the creation of practical ideas, tools and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention, and management of workplace mental health issues all free-of-charge.
All of the following resources are available in English and French to anyone, at no cost.
Guarding Minds at Work
Self-service resources to help small to large employers assess the psychological health and safety of their own workplace, and includes a framework for action planning and evaluation. The program helps employers understand and effectively address psychosocial issues affecting health and productivity in their workplace.
Dr. Joti Samra, Dr. Merv Gilbert, Dr. Martin Shain and Dr. Dan Bilsker acted as researchers and practitioners through the Consortium for Organizational Mental Healthcare (COMH), a leading national research centre in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, B.C.
Guarding Minds at Work provides practical, user-friendly assessment tools, including an organizational review and an online survey to measure psychological health and safety in the workplace. It was first made available through the Centre’s website in 2009 and was subsequently updated in 2012 to more effectively align with the Standard and again in 2018 to improve the user experience.
On the Agenda
A series of videos and interactive sessions to help managers engage their teams in discussions about addressing workplace issues that may impact mental health.
Not all managers or team leaders are natural facilitators, and they may feel uncomfortable talking about the issue of workplace mental health. When we designed On the Agenda, we had these leaders in mind as well as those with a high level of skill in dealing with these issues.
Team Building Sessions On the Agenda is a series of videos, presentation slides and supporting materials which can help facilitate discussions related to a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. It can be used as an extension of Guarding Minds at Work or on its own, and was first made available through the Centre’s website in 2010.
Working Through It
A series of video interviews featuring people sharing their real-life experiences of working through times of mental health pressures.
Their messages, aimed at employees and employers, include three important themes: you are not alone, there are things you can do to reclaim your well-being, and there is hope for a better tomorrow.
The original version of Working Through It was created by Mental Health Works and the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario with the support of Workplace Strategies. It was first made available on Workplace Strategies website in 2009 and updated in 2019.
Supporting Employee Success
A tool that helps inform the development of an effective workplace plan between the employer and employee. It can be used on its own or as part of an existing approach to support an employee’s accommodation need. The ideas are intended to be no-cost or low-cost to implement. Most require a small investment of time and/or a change in communication approach.
Supporting Employee Success provides a step-by-step process to:
- Assess stressors related to psychological, emotional, cognitive and physical issues at work
- Develop strategies to best support employee success
- Help maintain a safe and productive workplace
This resource was originally created by Dr. Ian Arnold and Suzanne Arnold, PhD, with input from Dr. David Brown and Dr. David Posen.
Building Stronger Teams: Supporting Effective Team Leaders
A leader's guide and activities for developing resilience for you and your team.
Building Stronger Teams: Supporting Effective Team Leaders is a resource designed to help:
- Team leaders develop self-awareness and good communication skills.
- Develop a team’s ability to problem solve, be objective and work well together.
It’s available in English and French, at no charge, and includes team-building activities that focus on common workplace issues that can be customized for your unique work situation.
You can choose to work through the book from beginning to end or you can pick and choose the activities that best fit you and your team.
Psychologically Safe Interactions
A PowerPoint slide deck for facilitators to use in a workshop. These resources are meant to help increase awareness of how our behaviours may be interpreted as bullying, even when that wasn't the intention.
Psychologically Safe Interactions is a set of resources based on the premise that many, including those in management and union roles, aren't aware that their behaviour may be experienced as harmful by co-workers and employees.
These resources create awareness by encouraging workplace stakeholders to think about how they could contribute toward a psychologically safer workplace.
The resources include:
CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor Training
The Centre has supported the development of this certificate program with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to help train individuals as CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisors (PH&S Advisors). Contact the CMHA for information on upcoming certificate training opportunities.
In February 2017 at the CMHA national annual Bottom Line Conference, CMHA thanked the Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies) on its 10th anniversary, via a video presentation for its dedicated and continued support for CMHA.
Canada Life and Workplace Strategies are the National Development Sponsors of CMHA’s Workforce Mental Health Collaborative.
Certificate in Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
With the support of the Centre, an online university program called Certificate in Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was developed by Dr. Joti Samra for the University of Fredericton (UFred). This program provides the knowledge and skills to help create and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Courses include a focus on the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). To learn more about the three-level certificate program, view UFred’s website.
Mindful Employer Canada
Executives, managers, union reps, along with human resources and occupational health professionals, all share a common interest: They want to create psychologically healthy and safe work environments and support positive workplace mental health for staff. Sponsorship from Canada Life supports Mindful Employer Canada’s development of programs like In-House, Mindful Leader and Mindful Campuses. These programs help organizations and individuals build their skills and abilities to reduce psychological harm.
University/College Community of Practice for Workplace Wellness
Workplace Strategies is proud to support the human resources and workplace wellness professionals from Canadian universities and colleges. This forum is a singular opportunity for Workplace Strategies to hear from disability management and health promotion leaders to help us develop valuable and useful resources for improved workplace mental health.
Topics have included: Building Resilience for Students, The Evolution of Workplace Mental Health, The Students' Perspective on Responding to Mental Health Issues on Campus, Mindfulness – Practice and Review, Tools for Supporting Employee Success, Health Promotion and Mental Health.
Occupational Health Professionals Forums
The Occupational Health Professionals Forums have been a collaborative opportunity for sharing ideas, planning, testing and implementing resources to help support mental health in workplaces across Canada. Workplace Strategies began its support of the Occupational Health Professionals Forums in June 2013 – where health professionals discussed the Standard and the challenges to implement it. Tools and resources to help support mental health in the workplace, along with the concept of a new resource called Supporting Employee Success (a process to use when an employee may need accommodation), were also the focus of the forum.
Vancouver Forum - Mental Health Commission of Canada
On Sept. 30, 2010 in Vancouver, BC, a group of executives, labour leaders, health and safety professionals, government agency representatives and experts in law and policy came together to look at the implications of Dr. Martin Shain's paper entitled Tracking the Perfect Legal Storm: Converging systems create mounting pressure to create the psychologically safe workplace.
The group was tasked with considering what employers need to know and/or access to provide a psychologically safe workplace in today's economic environment. This also resulted in the publication of Elements and Priorities for Working Towards a Psychologically Safer Workplace.
This event was hosted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada with support from Workplace Strategies. In 2014, Workplace Strategies commissioned a second paper, Weathering the Perfect Legal Storm, which is a follow-up to Dr. Shain's 2010 report.
Consensus Conference on a National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
In 2009, a group of leaders and specialists drawn from government, labour, business, research, standards development and occupational health and safety were brought together by the Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies). This was facilitated by Bill Wilkerson, Founder of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health and Addiction. The purpose of the forum was to determine the benefit to the Canadian public in general, and every Canadian employee and employer, of developing a national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace. With the consensus being reached, the Mental Health Commission of Canada committed to taking this to completion.
Role of the Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies) in the development of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Workforce Advisory Committee provided leadership and championed the development of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). The Standard was funded by the Government of Canada.
Here is a brief history of Workplace Strategies’ (formerly the Centre for Mental Health) involvement in the development of the Standard.
Assembling the Pieces: An Implementation Guide to the Standard was developed by CSA Group and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, with help from the Centre. Available for free download, this easy-to-use guide breaks down the implementation process for the Standard into four key steps.
The Canadian Standards Association and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (with funding support from the Centre and the Mental Health Commission of Canada) created a balanced Technical Committee and finalized the Standard.
Workplace Strategies added a new section to its Workplace Strategies for Mental Health website to support employers who wish to implement a psychological health and safety management system. Great-West Life funded updates to Guarding Minds at Work to align with the Standard as well as three new Ipsos surveys on psychological health and safety in the workplace, depression in the workplace and a new area – emotional intelligence of managers.
You can download a free copy of the Standard from http://www.csa.ca/z1003/ (English version).
The Canada Standards Association and Bureau de normalization du Quebec began work on creating a national standard. This was at the request of the Mental health Commission of Canada and received funding from the Government of Canada.
The Centre and the Mental Health Commission of Canada hosted a forum to ask leaders from government, policy, labour and business to describe the requirements for a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. The result was the Elements and Priorities for Working Toward a Psychologically Safer Workplace.
In response to the question of where to begin and where to invest limited time and resources in improving workplace mental health, the Centre commissioned the development of Guarding Minds at Work. This breakthrough evidence-based tool, that employers can use free of charge, helps assess and address organizational factors that impact workplace psychological health and safety.
The Centre also commissioned the largest and most significant Canadian study to date to evaluate risk levels of psychological health and safety in the workplace. This survey was conducted by Ipsos and followed the Centre’s 2007 survey on depression in the workplace.
The Centre, along with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, hosted a roundtable to ask leaders if a national standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace would be useful. There was a unanimous consensus that a voluntary national standard would be valuable for employers.
The Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies) was established by Great-West Life in response to a call to action by the Global Business & Economic Roundtable on Mental Health and Addiction. The Centre’s mandate was to take knowledge about workplace mental health and turn it into action, tools, and resources for employers. Initiatives, programs, events, research and surveys are funded by the Centre and by Great-West Life’s national corporate citizenship program, Stronger Communities Together™.
The Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies) is committed to enhancing workplace mental health, and that commitment has been recognized with awards from several organizations:
- Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director, Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (predecessor to Canada Life Workplace Strategies for Mental Health) received the Hope, Healing and Health Award from Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.
- Mike Schwartz, Senior Vice-President, Canada Transformation, and former Executive Director of the Centre (predecessor to Workplace Strategies), was the recipient of the 2016 Pillar of Hope Award.
- Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Strategy and Collaboration for the Centre, was the recipient of a CSA Group Award of Merit, 2015
- Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Strategy and Collaboration for the Centre, was co-recipient of the 2013 Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award
- Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Mental Illness Awareness Week. Champion – Private Sector
- Who's Who in Workplace Health
- 2009 Champions of Mental Health
- 2009 Web Award for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development
- The Manitoba Schizophrenia Society Corporate Achievement Award presented to Great-West Life in recognition of the company's philosophy, dedication and support in the workplace for those with mental illness. Learn more about the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, presented its Work and Well-Being Award to Great-West Life (now Canada Life) for outstanding contributions in the promotion of mental health in the workplace. The award identifies an organization that has demonstrated the promotion of mental health in the workplace and co-operation between employees, the community and agents within the workplace. Learn more about the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario.