Technical Committee Report to the Steering Committee on Mental Health in the Workplace

Implementing the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding between
The Treasury Board of Canada
and
The Public Service Alliance of Canada
With respect to Mental Health in the Workplace

Table of Contents

Foreword

We are pleased to present our Report to the Steering Committee on Mental Health in the Public Service, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Treasury Board of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada, with respect to Mental Health in the Workplace.

We are thoroughly engaged by this important topic, and are honoured to have been a part of co-developing this Report. Mental health in the workplace is an issue that touches all of us, and the way forward necessarily involves everyone.

Under the broad term of mental health, we approached this work from the perspective of advancing psychological health and safety. We believe that the recommendations included in this Report present an important first step in addressing challenges and opportunities for improving psychological health and safety in the workplace across the Federal Public Service.

“Mental health challenges are a reality in all parts of society and in all workplaces… We must create the space for open and stigma-free dialogue that allows for honesty and compassion as well as focus on preventing harm, promoting health and resilience, and addressing incidents or concerns”.

-Clerk of the Privy Council, 22nd Annual Report to
the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada

Signed by:

  • Bob Kingston
  • Lisa Addario
  • Shannon Bittman
  • Sandra Guttmann
  • Jerry Ryan
  • Sari Sairanen
  • Denis St-Jean
  • Caroline Curran
  • Brenda Baxter
  • Barbara Carswell
  • Hilary Flett
  • Lisa Janes
  • Brian McKee
  • Hélène Nadeau
  • Stephanie Priest

Introduction

Current Environment

The Federal Public Service is a large and diverse institution, composed of numerous professional and dedicated employees, focused on serving Canadians.  Public servants are tasked with addressing complex issues that affect economic, social, and security policy. They perform these tasks while maintaining a high level of professionalism, even during recent periods of workforce adjustment and economic restraint. Ever changing economic landscapes and workplace environments have had, and will continue to have, an impact on the mental health of Public Servants. Many do not perceive they have always been treated fairly, which may have led to increased levels of distrust.

Recent survey results have highlighted important challenges across the Federal Public Service. The 2014 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) results have shown that indicators of employee engagement have decreased over time and that 19% of employees have reported that they have been the victim of harassment. Of these individuals, 50% have reported harassment from co-workers, 63% have reported harassment from someone in authority, and 45% have reported fear of reprisal as a reason for not filing a grievance or formal complaint. Using data from the 2012 Survey on the Health of Executives, the 2014 APEX Report on Blueprint 2020 showed that the percentage of executives reporting high levels of organizational commitment dropped from 65% in 2007 to 52% in 2012. The Report also showed that executives in the Federal Public Service suffered from higher stress levels than 75% of Canadian adults and that 25% of executives reported symptoms of burnoutFootnote 1.

In fiscal year 2013-, approximately 40% of all Employee Assistance Program services were related to psychological healthFootnote 2. In 2014, 47% of all approved long-term disability claims were related to psychological health conditions; of these claims 59% involved depressionFootnote 3.

In addressing these challenges, it is important to recognize the diversity across the Federal Public Service, whether it is cultural, social, demographic, or the workplace itself, and to develop unique strategies that address these differences while promoting psychological health and safety.  

Background

In 2013, the Mental Health Commission of Canada introduced the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard), a voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources focused on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors. This Standard is adaptable to all workplaces and can be implemented in a progressive manner.

In , the President of the Treasury Board of Canada and the President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada reached an agreement to establish a Joint Task Force to address mental health in the workplaceFootnote 4.   

Pursuant to the Memorandum of UnderstandingFootnote 5 between the Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Technical Committee was tasked to provide a report of recommendations to the Steering Committee.

Approach

Over the past four months, the members of the Technical Committee have worked closely together to learn, listen and gain a better understanding of the important and complex issue of improving psychological health and safety in the workplace. In doing so, the Committee focused on activities that target changing the workplace culture, as well as related health and safety practices. For the purpose of this Report, the Committee did not address individual diagnostics and related support services.

Given the scope and complexity of its task, and faced with tight timelines, the Committee set an ambitious workplanFootnote 6 to meet its required responsibilities under the Memorandum of Understanding.  

In establishing its workplan, the Committee recognized that significant work had already been accomplished in the field of psychological health and safety in the Federal Public Service, including numerous policies, resources, and structures, as well as promising practices, and aimed to build upon these frameworksFootnote 7

To achieve its objectives, the Committee held eight full day sessions.  Relying on its collective expertise and the relevant experience of its members, supplemented as necessary with presentations from guest expertsFootnote 8, the Committee developed a vision that guided the drafting of this Report.

Our Vision

To create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace.

In order to transform this Vision into reality, the Committee has identified key areas of focus, with the overarching need for the Federal Public Service to create a new culture of humanity, compassion, and fairness.  The Committee believes this Vision can be achieved through the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard).

Creating a Culture of Humanity, Compassion, & Fairness

The Standard reminds us that the workplace is made up of people. In order to improve the psychological health and safety of the workplace, we must humanize the workplace. This requires a shift from a primarily output-focused environment to one that is more people-focused. A more people-focused environment contributes to a high quality Federal Public Service; compassion is fundamental to this shift.  Compassion can inform a new lexicon of work that reflects a new culture and way of behaving, and support an inclusive environment that de-stigmatizes psychological health issues. This is one of the biggest challenges facing psychological health and safety in the workplace.

A good work environment is a refuge for all, including those with mental health challenges.

Preliminary survey results presented by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (the Commission) indicated that employees believe compassion is the main driver for organizations to align with the Standard. Moreover, the Commission noted that, the Standard is not a program to comply with, but rather a cultural change, an ongoing process embedded in workplace well-being as “the way of doing business”.

In addition to compassion is a need for fairness and the equitable and just treatment of all individuals across and within the Federal Public Service, as recognized in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.  This includes ensuring that issues, such as confidentiality and privacy rights, are respected and protected.

Recommendation # 1

That the Federal Public Service adopt the following vision: To create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace. 

Areas of Focus

To support the adoption of this Vision, the Committee has identified the following areas of focus: Leadership; Engagement; Continuous Education, Training & Workplace Practices; Communication & Promotion; and Measurement & Accountability.

Leadership

Leaders at all levels, including employer and bargaining agent representatives, play a critical role in setting the tone in terms of raising awareness of psychological health and safety and advocating workplace well-being.

Leaders need to set the example and “walk the talk” in terms of actions and behaviours and take steps to demonstrate sustained leadership commitment. Leaders, formal and otherwise, model, promote and support positive practices and behaviours that lead to psychologically healthy and safe environments. Leaders do not have to come from management levels; but must be individuals who can speak genuinely and with sincerity and are the right fit to advance psychological health and safety.

The first step in the road to success is to demonstrate senior leadership commitment and secure a champion.

Subject matter experts also spoke highly of the need for champions who remain connected and engaged to ensuring improved psychological health and safety. Employee perception is important and champions need to be credible to foster trust and to create open dialogue to help de-stigmatize psychological health issues.

Recommendation # 2

Appoint a Psychological Health and Safety Champion(s) at a senior level through an inclusive selection process, which includes consultation with bargaining agents/employees.

Engagement

Senior management is expected to actively engage employees by promoting formal and informal approaches to facilitate collective and individual contributions towards continuous and positive cultural change.

Creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace requires commitment and engagement beyond senior leadership.  Psychological health and safety is the responsibility of all individuals in the workplace with leaders, from all levels, playing a critical role.  Engagement is active participation by all.

While the obligation to engage belongs to all, the intent should be to facilitate increased engagement in an organic and intrinsic manner where, despite obligations to engage, employees are doing so voluntarily.

To ensure active engagement and the successful implementation of psychological health and safety initiatives, departments will require additional resources, including adequate time and support from management for employees.

Recommendation # 3

Develop, implement, and support a comprehensive engagement strategy through consultation, using existing and additional structures.

Recommendation # 4

Ensure appropriate resources are available to develop, implement, and support a comprehensive engagement strategy.

Continuous Education, Training, & Workplace Practices

Given the size, diversity and scope of the Federal Public Service, exposure to psychological health risks can differ amongst and even within departments.  Education and training should help individuals to better understand and recognize how psychological health risks and hazards may present themselves in their respective workplaces. Training can provide individuals with the ability to take steps to prevent psychological harm to themselves and others, as well as provide knowledge of processes, tools and resources for seeking help and supporting employees to help deal with stressors.

Training should be more than just ticking a box to indicate a course has been completed.

There are many existing resources and structures available in the Federal Public Service that can provide training and support to leaders, managers and employees. There are also many external partners that provide mental health tools, resources and expertise.  Comparable organizations, such as Bell Canada, worked with an external partner to develop specialized training modules for managers/leaders, employees, union leaders and members of Occupational Health and Safety Committees. Many online and easily accessible resources have been developed by external partners that can be utilized in each workplace.

When designing a training plan, it is important to tailor education and training to reflect unique worksite needs that include consideration for all aspects of diversity (e.g., various training formats may be required). Training objectives should also focus on the use of soft skills, such as effective listening and how to deal with individuals in a compassionate manner. Emotional intelligence and the use of soft skills should form part of the recruitment and development strategy for the Federal Public Service. Occupational Health and Safety Committees should also be trained and provided with expertise to conduct workplace assessments that include physical and psychological risk assessments.

A centre of expertise would be an efficient and cost effective means to assist departments and agencies in the delivery of the above. This centre could vet and house pertinent information and resources, and provide advice to departments on best practices, including but not limited to continuous education, training and workplace practices.

Recommendation # 5

Create a single Centre of Expertise for psychological health and safety in the Federal Public Service to advise, assist, and support departments and agencies in their adoption of the Vision.

Recommendation # 6

Educate, train and equip individuals, managers, and Occupational Health and Safety Committees/representatives, enabling them to adopt the Vision.

Recommendation # 7

Use existing education and training tools and, as needed, develop additional resources, based on identified gaps, to support Recommendation # 6.

Communication & Promotion

Communication is key for building the foundation for an action plan.

Success in implementing the Vision requires effective communication to encourage and promote openness and help overcome barriers. Good communication can help rebuild trust, overcome fear of reprisal, and create awareness of workplace mental health challenges.

Communication should be strategic and ongoing, and should also serve to highlight successes and current initiatives to improve psychological health and safety. As noted earlier, there are already many existing structures and tools within and outside the Federal Public Service that can be leveraged to reach out to employees at all levels of the workplace.

Further to the section above on Engagement, working with and promoting existing structures and frameworks (e.g., the National Joint Council Service Wide Occupational Health and Safety Policy Committee, departmental Occupational Health and Safety Committees, and the Joint Learning Program) or participating in existing events (e.g., World Mental Health Day and the Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health Week) can ensure the successful roll out of health and safety initiatives.

Recommendation # 8

Develop and implement a joint employer/employee communication strategy that includes, but is not limited to promoting active engagement and ongoing commitment across the Federal Public Service, engaging every individual in the workforce and enshrining psychological health and safety in all occupational health and safety communiques, programs and activities.

Measurement & Accountability

Building a measurement and reporting system is essential to the success of the Vision and plays an important role in ensuring accountability and correcting unacceptable behaviours and attitudes of intolerance, helping to cultivate positive cultural change.

Measurement requires establishing benchmark baseline data and indicators that assess the organization against criteria, such as the 13 factors in the Standard, that impact the psychological health and safety of the workplace. Internal and external environmental scans, including Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) analyses, specialized surveys and consultations with employees can be used to identify risks and gaps, inform departmental action plans and provide meaningful information to monitor specific areas. 

Key performance indicators available in the Federal Public Service include employee usage of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services and the disability claims related to psychological health. Comparable organizations, such as Bell Canada, utilize these indicators, and have reported an increase in EAP services and a decrease in claims related to psychological health following the adoption and sustained application of psychological health initiatives. As observed, this is partly due to increased awareness, access to assistance, and promotion of the services available, in addition to a decrease in psychological harm, de-stigmatization, and observable risk factors.

Ongoing review and improvement are essential to the successful implementation of mental health initiatives.

In addition to measurement is a need to ensure accountability. Management accountability currently exists in the Federal Public Service through the Management Accountability Framework (MAF), individual performance agreements, and existing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committees.  These mechanisms could be used to ensure departments and agencies define achievable short-term goals, as well as ongoing objectives.

Recommendation # 9

Departments should conduct an assessment of risks and potential threats to workplace psychological health and safety to inform a continual review process, including assessment, identification, remediation, and further review.

Recommendation # 10

Incorporate psychological health and safety into the Management Accountability Framework with annual psychological health and safety reports provided to the Clerk of the Privy Council.

Recommendation # 11

Amend the competencies included in Performance Management Agreements in a manner consistent with the Vision in order to hold individuals to account.

Conclusion

To create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace.

The Committee believes this Vision can be achieved through progressive implementation of the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

Through this work, dialogue, inclusivity and de-stigmatization will be encouraged. The realization of this Vision is wholly dependent on the commitment and contribution of every individual.

This Report represents a first step towards the adoption of a comprehensive psychological health, safety and well-being strategy for the Federal Public Service. The Committee recognizes that work still needs to be done to elaborate on these high level recommendations, to assist in the operationalization of this Vision.

We recommend that this Committee continue to work toward overseeing a more fulsome implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Treasury Board of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada with respect to Mental Health in the Workplace.

Summary of Recommendations in support of the vision

Recommendation # 1

That the Federal Public Service adopt the following vision: To create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace. 

Recommendation # 2

Appoint a Psychological Health and Safety Champion(s) at a senior level through an inclusive selection process, which includes consultation with bargaining agents/employees.

Recommendation # 3

Develop, implement, and support a comprehensive engagement strategy through consultation, using existing and additional structures.

Recommendation # 4

Ensure appropriate resources are available to develop, implement, and support a comprehensive engagement strategy.

Recommendation # 5

Create a single Centre of Expertise for psychological health and safety in the Federal Public Service to advise, assist, and support departments and agencies in their adoption of the Vision.

Recommendation # 6

Educate, train and equip individuals, managers, and Occupational Health and Safety Committees/representatives, enabling them to adopt the Vision.

Recommendation # 7

Use existing education and training tools and, as needed, develop additional resources, based on identified gaps, to support Recommendation # 6.

Recommendation # 8

Develop and implement a joint employer/employee communication strategy that includes, but is not limited to promoting active engagement and ongoing commitment across the Federal Public Service, engaging every individual in the workforce and enshrining psychological health and safety in all occupational health and safety communique, programs and activities.

Recommendation # 9

Departments should conduct an assessment of risks and potential threats to workplace psychological health and safety to inform a continual review process, including assessment, identification, remediation, and further review.

Recommendation # 10

Incorporate psychological health and safety into the Management Accountability Framework with annual psychological health and safety reports provided to the Clerk of the Privy Council.

Recommendation # 11

Amend the competencies included in Performance Management Agreements in a manner consistent with the Vision in order to hold individuals to account.

Annexes

Annex A – About the Joint Task Force

The Joint Task Force comprises a Steering Committee, and a Technical Committee that supports the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is co-led by the Chief Human Resources Officer and the President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and provides guidance and leadership to the Technical Committee. The Technical Committee is composed of representatives of both bargaining agents and the Employer, and is co-chaired by representatives of the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Steering Committee members

Bargaining Agent Members
  • Robyn Benson (Co-Chair)
    President, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Ron Cochrane
    Executive Director, Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers
  • Debi Daviau
    President, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Employer Members
  • Daniel Watson (previous Co-Chair)
    Chief Human Resources Officer,
    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Anne Marie Smart (Co-Chair as of September 2015)
    Chief Human Resources Officer,
    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Technical Committee members

Bargaining Agent Members
  • Bob Kingston (Co-Chair), Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Lisa Addario, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Shannon Bittman, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
  • Sandra Guttmann, Association of Justice Counsel
  • Jerry Ryan, Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (East)
  • Sari Sairanen, Unifor (Headquarters)
  • Denis St-Jean, Public Service Alliance of Canada
Employer Members
  • Caroline Curran (Co-Chair), Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Brenda Baxter, Labour Program , Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Barbara Carswell, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
  • Hilary Flett, Health Canada
  • Lisa Janes, Canada Border Services Agency
  • Brian McKee, National Managers Community
  • Hélène Nadeau, Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada
  • Stephanie Priest, Public Health Agency of Canada

Support to the Technical Committee was provided by the following individuals from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: Sharon Bowles, Laura MacLean, Matthew Millar, and Mariane Small.

Annex B – MOU

Memorandum of Understanding
Between
The Treasury Board
And
The Public Service Alliance of Canada
With Respect to Mental Health in the Workplace

This memorandum of understanding is to give effect to the understanding reached between the Employer and Public Service Alliance of Canada regarding issues of mental health in the workplace.

The task force, comprised of a technical committee and a steering committee, is established with a long-term focus and commitment from senior leadership of the parties. It will focus on continuous improvement and the successful implementation of measures to improve mental health in the workplace.

Accordingly, the parties agree to establish a steering committee and a technical committee by . The steering committee is to establish the terms of reference of the technical committee by . These dates may be extended by mutual agreement of the steering committee members. The technical committee terms of reference may be amended from time to time by mutual consent of the steering committee members.

The technical committee will provide a report of recommendations to the steering committee by . The steering committee members may, by mutual agreement, extend this period.

The ongoing responsibilities of the technical committee include:

  • Identifying ways of reducing and eliminating the stigma in the workplace that is too frequently associated with mental health issues;
  • Identifying ways to better communicate the issues of mental health challenges in the workplace and tools such as existing policies, legislation and directives available to support employees facing these challenges;
  • Reviewing practices from other jurisdictions and employers that might be instructive for the Public Service;
  • Reviewing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) and identify how implementation shall best be achieved within the Public Service; recognizing that not all workplaces are the same;
  • Ensuring the participation of Health and Safety committees as required by the steering committee;
  • Outlining any possible challenges and barriers that may impact the successful implementation of mental health best practices; and
  • Outlining areas where the objectives reflected in the Standard, or in the work of other organizations, represent a gap with existing approaches within the federal Public Service. Once identified, make ongoing recommendations to the steering committee on how those gaps could be addressed. The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace should be considered a minimum standard that the Employer’s occupational health and safety program may exceed.

The steering and technical committees will be comprised of an equal number of Union and Employer representatives. The steering committee is responsible for determining the number and the identity of their respective technical committee representatives.

Annex C – Work Plan

Meeting 1 -  Introductions and Planning

9:00 – 12:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • To review and discuss the mandate and scope of the Technical Committee;
  • To review the draft work plan, potential presentations, and schedule;
  • To have a roundtable discussion on relevant experience and ideas.

Meeting 2 - Where We Are: Mental health in the public service workplace

9:00 – 4:00
103-104, 373 Sussex Drive

Objectives:
  • To better understand the linkages between mental health and a respectful workplace;
  • To learn about current cultures, indicators, and data regarding mental health levels across the public service.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Identifying ways to better communicate the issues of mental health challenges in the workplace, and tools such as existing policies, legislation and directives available to support employees facing these challenges.”
  • “Ensuring the participation of Health and Safety committees as required by the steering committee.”
Presentations: 
  • Public Service Employee Survey Results: Christine Nassrallah, Executive Director (OCHRO – TBS)
  • APEX Report on Blueprint 2020: Hélène Nadeau, Visiting Executive, APEX
  • Public Service Disability Plan:  Steve Ireland, Assistant Vice-President, Major Accounts, Sunlife Canada
  • Employee Assistance Services:  Alain Contant, A/Director, Health Canada
  • Occupational Health & Safety: Denis St. Jean, PSAC; Hilary Flett, Health Canada

Meeting 3 – What We Are Looking At: National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

9:00 – 4:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • To gain a better understanding of the elements and objectives of the National Standard, as well as the implementation process outlined in the Assembling the Pieces guide;
  • To learn about the implementation processes of other comparable organizations, including their successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Reviewing the National Standard and identify how implementation shall best be achieved within the Public Service, recognizing that not all workplaces are the same.”
  •  “Reviewing practices from other jurisdictions and employers that might be instructive for the Public Service.”
Presentations: 
  • Co-chair of committee to develop the National Standard: Mary Ann Baynton
  • Bell Canada: Marie-Hélène Favreau, Director of Mental Health, Workplace Practices and Disability Management
  • Nova Scotia Public Service Long Term Disability Plan Trust: Charles J. Bruce, CEO

Meeting 4 – What We Have (Existing tools) and Our Way Forward (Options for Action)

9:00 – 4:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • Review and examine the current resources and vehicles that are already in place to support employee mental health in the public and private sector;
  • To learn about mental health initiatives already underway across public service and the private sector;
  • To review different models of implementing mental health initiatives;
  • To discuss the key elements of initiatives, and mechanisms for action.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Identifying ways to better communicate the issues of mental health challenges in the workplace, and tools such as existing policies, legislation and directives available to support employees facing these challenges.”
  • “Outlining areas where the objectives reflected in the Standard, or in the work of other organizations, reflect a gap with existing approaches within the federal Public Service.”
Presentations:
  • Mental Health Commission of Canada – Karla Thorpe,  Director of Prevention and Promotion Initiatives
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission – Ian Fine,  Executive Director
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Monique St-Amour, Advisor, Occupational Health and Safety

Meeting 5 – What We Recommend (Session #1)

9:00 – 4:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • To review key elements of initiatives, mechanisms for action, and refine elements of and priorities for future work;
  • To discuss a draft set of recommendations.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Identifying ways of reducing and eliminating the stigma in the workplace that is too frequently associated with mental health issues.”
  •  “Outlining any possible challenges and barriers that may impact the successful implementation of mental health best practices.”

Meeting 6 – What We Recommend (Session #2)

9:00 – 4:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • To learn about mental health initiatives across the public and private sector;
  • To refine elements of and priorities for future work;
  • To continue discussion on a draft set of recommendations.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Identifying ways to better communicate the issues of mental health challenges in the workplace, and tools such as existing policies, legislation and directives available to support employees facing these challenges.”
  •  “Outlining areas where the objectives reflected in the Standard, or in the work of other organizations, reflect a gap with existing approaches within the federal Public Service. Once identified, make ongoing recommendations to the steering committee on how those gaps could be addressed. The National Standard should be considered a minimum standard that the Employer’s occupational health and safety program may exceed.”
Presentation:
  • Partners for Mental Health – Not Myself Today annual workplace initiative – includes a campaign toolkit with activities, case studies, and fact sheets

Meeting 7 – What We Recommend (Session #3)

9:00 – 4:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • To refine elements of and priorities for future work;
  • To continue discussion on a draft set of recommendations.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Outlining areas where the objectives reflected in the Standard, or in the work of other organizations, reflect a gap with existing approaches within the federal Public Service. Once identified, make ongoing recommendations to the steering committee on how those gaps could be addressed. The National Standard should be considered a minimum standard that the Employer’s occupational health and safety program may exceed.”

Meeting 8 – What We Recommend (Session #4)

9:00 – 4:00
1A, 222 Nepean Street

Objectives:
  • To refine elements of and priorities for future work;
  • To continue discussion on a draft set of recommendations.
Linkage with the responsibilities outlined in the MOU:
  • “Outlining areas where the objectives reflected in the Standard, or in the work of other organizations, reflect a gap with existing approaches within the federal Public Service. Once identified, make ongoing recommendations to the steering committee on how those gaps could be addressed. The National Standard should be considered a minimum standard that the Employer’s occupational health and safety program may exceed.”

Annex D – Survey of Existing Legislation, Policies, & Tools

The Federal Public Service’s existing policies/legislation to address mental health and related issues:

  • Part II of the Canada Labour Code’s general duty clause requires every employer to ensure the health and safety at work of every person employed.  The Code imposes a number of duties on employers and provides rights to employees including recourse rights, a refusal to work process, and the reporting and investigation of deaths occurred in the workplace. 
  • The Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Part XX speak to Violence Prevention in the Work Place that requires every employer to provide employees with a safe, healthy, and violence-free work environment.  Psychological injury that is alleged to result from harassment and/or violence in the workplace could be treated in accordance with the Policy. 
  • The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on a number of grounds, including disability. The Act considers both mental illness and drug and alcohol dependence as disabilities.
  • Treasury Board’s Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution and the Directive on Harassment Complaint Process stress the responsibility to protect employees from harassment beyond the requirement of the Canadian Human Rights Act
  • The National Joint Council’s system-wide Occupational Health and Safety Directive forms part of the collective agreements.
  • The Occupational Health Evaluation Standard establishes health standards that departments and agencies are responsible for applying.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Policy sets out human resource management and occupational health services and departmental requirements, including complying with Health Canada directives on the occupational safety and health of employees.
  • The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act establishes the procedures for the disclosure of wrongdoing in the Federal Public Service, including the protection of persons who disclose the wrongdoing.
  • The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector sets out the role of federal public servants, including respect for people and contributing to a safe and healthy work environment.
  • The Policy Framework for People Management includes the role that the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development have for health and safety issues as consideration for the roles and responsibilities related to people management.
  • The Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service and the Employment Equity Policy outline the requirements to support the Employment Equity Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • The Executive Talent Management System, which includes workplace health as a government-wide corporate priority for 2015-.

Current wellness tools:

  • Public Health Agency of Canada Mental Health Fact Sheets for Canadians.
  • The National Managers’ Community Mental Health Guide in the Workplace provides an overview of warning signs, manager and employee considerations, and good management practices.
  • Managing for Wellness – Disability Management Handbook for Managers. This Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat handbook was issued in 2011.  It helps managers deal with mental health issues in the workplace and promotes employee wellness, workplace attachment and productivity.
  • The Policy on Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides EAP services, which is the largest national EAP provider to Canada's Federal Public Service.
    • EAP offers both preventative and remedial solutions to employers, employees, and immediate family members who have concerns that could affect their personal well-being and/or work performance. 
    • EAP services include: 24-Hour Crisis and Referral Center; and crisis counselling available (crisis and suicide prevention/intervention). 
  • Informal Conflict Management Systems must be established by every deputy head under section 207 of the PSLRA. The federal ICMS network provides in-house workshops for employees and managers on harassment and conflict management.
  • Employees can use quiet rooms to make calls, have private meetings with other colleagues, for religious practices, or to do work requiring a high level of concentration.
  • The Workplace Fitness Program Policy provides discounted gym memberships to employees and spouses.
  • The Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements provides that work alternatives are permitted, including, but not limited to telework, task modification and flexible working hours. Altered work schedules allow employees to attend religious events.
  • The Disability Insurance Plan and Public Service Management Insurance Plan Long-Term Disability provide disability coverage to employees.
  • The Public Service Health Care Plan includes coverage for paramedical services, such as psychological services for employees and dependents.
  • Workers’ Compensation (governed by the Government Employees Compensation Act) provides disability coverage for those employees who are injured at work.

Mental health initiatives:

  • The Standard has been implemented as a pilot in the Public Health Agency of Canada.  The key features include a circular feedback loop including commitment, leadership, participation, and planning.  By 2015, PHAC will have a progress report, a performance measurement strategy based on the National Standard and new strategies or refinement of existing strategies to address prevailing workplace risks.  
  • The Joint Learning Program (JLP) between Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance of Canada offers a two-day workshop entitled "Mental Health in the Workplace: Fostering Psychological Health and Safety". In the first 9 months following the launch of the workshop, the JLP has organized over 150 sessions across Canada for 29 departments and agencies covering 2,579 participants from both management and bargaining agents.
  • The Canada School of Public Service provides new and existing learning opportunities that target healthy workplaces, which includes online courses, classroom courses and special events, for public servants at every level. The School’s clients may access five mental health on-line courses, free of charge, provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). The five CCOHS courses are: 1) Mental Health: Awareness; 2) Mental Health: Communications Strategies; 3) Mental Health: Health and Wellness Strategies; 4) Mental Health: Psychologically Healthy Workplaces; and 5) Mental Health: Signs, Symptoms and Solutions.

Annex E – Overview of Presentations and Subject Matter Experts

Presentation Topic: Public Service Employee Survey Results
Subject Matter Expert: Christine Nassrallah, Executive Director, Governance, Planning and Policy Sector, Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Subject Matter: Overview of linkages between employee health and workplace wellness.

Presentation Topic: APEX Report on Blueprint 2020
Subject Matter Expert: Hélène Nadeau, Visiting Executive, APEX
Subject Matter: Overview of the results of 2012 Survey on the Health of Executives and the APEX Report on Blueprint 2020.

Presentation Topic: Public Service Disability Plan
Subject Matter Expert: Steve Ireland, Assistant Vice-President, Major Accounts, Sunlife Canada
Subject Matter: Overview of disability insurance plan trends and data for the Federal Public Service.

Presentation Topic: Employee Assistance Program Services
Subject Matter Expert: Alain Contant, A/Director, Health Canada
Subject Matter: Overview of the Employee Assistance Services, including the Employee Assistance Program, including services offered, usage trends, and emerging issues.

Presentation Topic: Occupational Health & Safety
Subject Matter Experts: Denis St. Jean, PSAC; Hilary Flett, Health Canada
Subject Matter: Overview of Employer responsibilities for supporting employee health and safety, including psychological health and safety.

Presentation Topic: The National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Subject Matter Expert: Mary Ann Baynton, Co-Chair of Committee to develop the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Subject Matter: Overview of developing and implementing the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and key features of the National Standard.

Presentation Topic: The National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Subject Matter Expert: Charles J. Bruce, CEO, Nova Scotia Public Service Long Term Disability Plan Trust Fund
Subject Matter: Overview of the approach taken and successes and challenges faced by the Nova Scotia Public Service in implementing the National Standard.

Presentation Topic: Bell Canada “Let’s Talk”
Subject Matter Expert: Marie-Hélène Favreau, Director of Mental Health, Workplace Practices and Disability Management, Bell Canada
Subject Matter: Overview of the approach taken and successes and challenges faced by Bell Canada.

Presentation Topic: Mental Health Commission of Canada
Subject Matter Expert: Karla Thorpe,  Director of Prevention and Promotion Initiatives, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Subject Matter: Overview of implementation initiatives in the area of workplace mental health and guidance on the National Standard.

Presentation Topic: Canadian Human Rights Commission
Subject Matter Expert: Ian Fine,  Executive Director, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Subject Matter: Overview of the Commission’s work on mental health issues in the workplace and tools developed and in development on accommodating mental health and creating a culture of human rights and respect in the workplace.

Presentation Topic: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Subject Matter Expert: Monique St-Amour, Advisor, Occupational Health and Safety, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Subject Matter: Overview of the RCMP's Mental Health Strategy and tools they have developed to address mental health in the workplace.

Presentation Topic: Not Myself Today Initiative
Subject Matter Expert: Jeff Moat, President, Partners for Mental Health
Subject Matter: Overview of the Partners for Mental Health Not Myself Today initiative, promising practices in addressing mental health challenges and tool-kits that could be incorporated into large organizations, such as the public service.

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