Whether we've sponsored development of a resource, collaborated with another organization, or are providing information from a third-party expert, Workplace Strategies 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.
The quality and practicality of the resources we develop are in no small part due to the generous contribution of experts, researchers, academics, workplace stakeholders and people with lived experience from across the country and beyond. Learn More
Each of the following initiatives contributed in its own way to the advancement of learning and knowledge of workplace mental health.
Workplace Strategies 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.
A summary of Dr. Martin Shain’s full report “Getting ahead of the Perfect Legal Storm” – toward a basic legal standard of care for workers’ psychological safety. 8.5" × 11", 8 pages, 1.94 MB.
GETTING AHEAD OF THE PERFECT LEGAL STORM - TOWARD A BASIC LEGAL STANDARD OF CARE FOR WORKERS’ PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY (2019)
Dr. Martin Shain provides an update to his previous works, The Perfect Legal Storm, Weathering the Perfect Legal Storm, The Careful Workplace and Preventing Workplace Meltdown. 8.5" × 11", 27 pages, 535 KB.
Dr. Joti Samra examines what influenced the evolution of workplace mental health policies and strategies in Canada over the past ten years. 8.5"x 11.0", 86 pages, 1.94MB
Key research findings about the trend towards psychological health and safety, 8.5" x 11.0", 8 pages, 1904 KB
Dr. Martin Shain takes a look at the emerging duty to provide a psychologically safe system of work in the context of the voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. 8.5" × 11", 24 pages, 277 KB.
Dr. Martin Shain describes how converging systems have created mounting pressure for psychologically safe workplaces. 8.5" × 11", 27 pages, 3.46 MB.
Free public resources
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.
Examples include Guarding Minds at Work, Psychologically safe leader assessment, On the agenda, Working through it, Supporting employee success and many others.
All of the resources are available on our Materials, tools and resources page in English and French to anyone, at no cost.
Mindful Campuses Grant Program
March 2019 was the inaugural year for the Mindful Campuses Grant Program. Workplace Strategies and Mindful Employer Canada (MEC), with financial support from Canada Life, offered grants of up to $2,000 to universities and colleges who demonstrated the ability to host a series of events and activities focused on wellness. For more information on this initiative, contact Mindful Employer Canada.
Institute for Work and Health: Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED)
Workplace Strategies, along with support from Canada Life, is participating in this study to help deliver workplace resources to sustain employment of people with episodic mental and physical health conditions. One of Workplace Strategies’ tools, Supporting employee success is being adapted to support accommodation planning among workers, supervisors and other workplace parties. For more information on this study, check out the Institute for Work and Health’s website.
From surviving to thriving: developing personal and academic resilience
In 2019, Workplace Strategies developed a new tool called From surviving to thriving, to help post-secondary students build resilience and minimize the negative impact from stressful situations. The news release on this tool garnered attention by CBC Manitoba and other radio stations.
Thank you to the University and Colleges Community of Practice wellness professionals and the following individuals for contributing to the development of this resource: Dr. Ian M.F. Arnold, M. Suzanne Arnold, PhD, Dr. James Gillett, Natasha Sheikhan, Dr. Heather Stuart, Brooke Linden, Heather Drummond, Heather Gafney, Sami Pritchard, Sarah Jenner, David K. MacDonald, Kelsey Pretty, Dr. David Brown, Brian Hansell, JianLi Wang, Kaitlin Kellogg, Leah Rosevear, Cassandra Filice, Allison Drew-Hassling, Alexis Dorland, Erick Kovacs and students at McMaster University, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia Okanagan, and Waterloo University.
CMHA Certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor Training
Workplace Strategies 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 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 Workplace Strategies, 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.
Forums and roundtables
In September 2019, Workplace Strategies held a roundtable in Toronto that brought together participants within the LGBTQ+ community to discuss questions such as:
- Leader strategies to help team members be inclusive
- Policies and procedures for organizations that should be adopted
- What advice they would have for someone feeling excluded, isolated or ridiculed at work
The resulting discussion from this roundtable can be found on our Implicit bias web page. Workplace Strategies would like to thank Cathy Bawden, Monique Bergeron, Jaison Coley, Mardi Daley, Roxanne Derhodge, Jackie Faulkner, Karen Hicks, Sheldon Ji, Tova Larsen, Tania Lor, Christine Newman, Nyk Morrigan, Bonnie Pedota, Robyn Priest, Nancy Russell, Kate Welsh, Rogue Witterick and Michelle Yan for their contributions.
Engaging the Indigenous community roundtable
In April 2019, Workplace Strategies hosted the inaugural Miinosewin (Ojibway for to set it right properly) – the Mike S. Schwartz Indigenous Collaboration roundtable. The roundtable was held in Winnipeg where we discussed topics ranging from how to integrate the Seven Sacred teaching at work to how to support the Indigenous Community in the workplace.
We offer Miigwech to Andrew Boryskavich, Diane Carriere, Donna Desmarais, E.J. Fontaine, Eva Wilson-Fontaine, Amber Harris, Priscilla Johnstone, Sherman Kong, Larry Lavallee, Norman Meade, Elder, Thelma Meade, Elder, Barb Moran and Tami Omeasoo for participating in this roundtable.
Independent professional roundtable
In November 2018, a group of independent professional as well as those with expertise in workplace mental health came together at a roundtable in Toronto to generously share their extensive knowledge to develop the Independent professional resource.
Workplace strategies would like to thank Maureen McKenna, Keri Alletson, David Barnes, Sajel Bellon, Leslie Bennett, Jalynn Bosley, Loretta Brill, Kerri Brock, Mandi Luis Buckner, Rilla Clark, Mackenzie Gilmore, Lesley Greig, Sarah Jenner, Louisa Jewell, Jenise Lee, Ann Morgan, Hayley Peek, Jenn Porritt, Sarah Smith and Kim Sunderland for participating in this roundtable.
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.
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.