National Standard for Psychological Health & Safety

National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety

In 2013 the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and the Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec, announced a new voluCSA logo CMYKntary national standard for “Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace”.   Download the standard here.

The purpose of the Standard is to assist organizations in identifying how their policies, processes and interactions impact the psychological health and safety of employees. The Standard identifies 13 factors that support relational health in the workplace.  Here is a 5 minute video explaining the standard:

The CSA has acknowledged CWE as a service that can help business and organizations meet the Standard’s requirements.

How seriously does mental illness affect the workplace in Canada?

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario states that every year the Canadian economy loses billions to mental health issues. The CHMA Ontario makes a financial case for workplace mental health promotion:

  • Workplace mental health disorders cost Canadian companies nearly 14 percent of their net annual profits and up to $16 billion annually.
  • More recent calculations, which include indirect costs (i.e., presenteeism), suggest that upwards of $51 billion is lost to the Canadian economy annually due to mental health and addiction issues (i.e., depression, anxiety, burnout, substance misuse).
  • $34 billion is the cost of mental illness and addictions to the Ontario economy.
  • Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for people ages 15 to 44 years.
  • In 2005, mental disabilities such as stress and depression were the leading cause of disability in the labour force, which accounted for over $8 billion in productivity losses 2006.
  • Mental health (primarily depression and anxiety) has surpassed cardiovascular disease as the fastest growing category of cost for disability claims in Canada.
  • 75 percent of all short-term disability claims and 82 percent of long-term disability claims in Canada are related to mental illness.
  • The amount an employer will save, per employee per year, for those who get treatment is from $5000 – $10, 000 on average in wage replacement, sick leave and prescription drug costs.
  • A study, released in 2004 by the Public Health Agency of Canada, identified that 58 percent of employees report having work-life conflict; being overwhelmed by their jobs, families or finances.
  • Mental illness is the second leading cause of disability and premature death in Canada.
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers 1999 International Student Survey found 57 percent of graduating business students rated work-life balance as their primary career goal and therefore influential in choosing an employer.

“While the Standard is voluntary, psychological health and safety is beneficial to all organizations in terms of
productivity, performance and overall organizational excellence.”