SUMMARY: A 3-year national research study has been undertaken by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to determine how Canadian employers are using the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Results will help identify promising practices, formulate programs, and develop educational tools and processes to help more organizations adopt the Standard and to promote mentally healthy workplaces overall.

Join the conversation as we share questions and ideas from our participants and expert panel. Visit the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) website for more information about the Case Study Research Project.

Assessing readiness

May 2015

When does an organization know if it is ready to begin the process of implementing psychological health and safety or adopting the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard)?

One indication is a commitment from senior leaders to provide clear direction and necessary resources to implement a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. It is a process of continual improvement and should always be a work in progress. If resources aren't being made available, champions for the initiative may need to take a step back and consider making a business case to secure buy-in from senior leadership.

Assessing the organization's understanding of how the Standard can reduce the risk of psychological harm to all employees is another measurement of readiness. Explaining the Standard's purpose may be necessary before proceeding.

Working towards readiness may also include taking steps to help employees feel as comfortable as possible openly discussing mental health in the workplace, including their own concerns.

The following are low- to no-cost resources to assist at every step of the process:

  • 20 Questions for Leaders About Workplace Psychological Health and Safety  – Questions help leaders consider possible exposures to risk or potential for improvement as a result of changes in the duty to accommodate mental disabilities, labour law, occupational health and safety, employment standards, workers compensation, the contract of employment, tort law, and human rights decisions that are all pointing to the need for employers to provide a psychologically safe workplace. This can help assess the readiness for change from a risk management perspective.
  • Managing for Health and High Performance Survey – Asks leaders and managers to assess how their management style contributes to staff well-being and performance. This can help individual managers and supervisors to assess their own readiness for change towards a psychologically healthier workplace.
  • The Standard Audit Tool – Can help an organization assess where it's at with respect to the Standard, what's already in place and what is required to meet the minimum standard for workplace psychological health and safety. This information can support a conversation about what senior leaders are ready to do and what the organization can bear in terms of resources.
  • 20 Questions for Unions About Workplace Mental Health and Psychological Safety – Questions can help union representatives consider the effectiveness of current approaches for promoting psychological health and safety in workplaces as well as their role in supporting workers who may be experiencing mental health issues at work. One critical component of readiness is having the unions onside and part of the effort of working toward a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.