National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace marks first year milestone

Jan 16, 2014, 10:00 ET from Great-West Life Assurance Company

WINNIPEG, Jan. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Today marks the one year anniversary of the launch of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). Significant progress has been made in that short time in raising awareness of the Standard as well as psychological health and safety concerns in the workplace.

"With the largest number of downloads of any CSA Group standard, at over 15,000 in the first year alone, it is clear that the issue of psychological health and safety in the workplace is at the forefront for a growing number of Canadian organizations," says Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (the Centre). "On behalf of Great-West Life and the Centre, we congratulate the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), the CSA Group and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec on their important work, and are pleased to have helped fund this initiative."

"Great-West Life has been active in supporting workplace mental health for over 10 years - most notably with the establishment in 2007 of the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace," says Mike Schwartz, Senior Vice-President of Group Benefits for Great-West Life, and Executive Director for the Centre. "It was a natural fit for both Great-West and the Centre when we were presented with the opportunity to support the development of this voluntary Standard."

Since its inception, the Centre has commissioned surveys and research projects, including a 2012 survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on psychological health and safety in the workplace, depression in the workplace, and the emotional intelligence of managers and supervisors in the workplace. The survey results reinforce the value of the Standard.

More recently, the Centre commissioned two new reports to coincide with the anniversary of the Standard: Weathering the Perfect Legal Storm, a follow up to Dr. Martin Shain's 2010 report, Tracking the Perfect Storm; and a user experience report on Guarding Minds @ Work™ by Drs. Merv Gilbert and Dan Bilsker, profiling the experiences of organizations that have used this free online resource to work towards the Standard.

The Centre is also helping to fund the MHCC's three-year research project into the experiences of over 40 organizations across Canada – including Great-West Life, London LIfe and Canada Life – that currently working towards the Standard. The case studies will ultimately be shared broadly so that all organizations can learn from these experiences.

Baynton reminds employers that there are many resources in the public domain to help them work towards the Standard, including a number of tools and resources made available through the Centre at no charge. "An entire section of the Centre's website is even devoted to helping employers develop a psychological health and safety management system as suggested by the Standard, including a presentation to help organizations get started," she notes.

All of the Centre's tools and resources are available in English and French to anyone, anywhere, and at no charge at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com.

About the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace
Established in 2007, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace is a leading source of practical ideas, tools and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues.

Focused specifically on the workplace, the Centre is working to increase awareness and understanding, and to help employers take concrete steps to foster a psychologically healthy and safe workplace and manage employee mental health issues.

Visit the Centre's website at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com.

SOURCE Great-West Life Assurance Company

Image with caption: "Employers can access free resources to help work towards the Standard at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com (CNW Group/Great-West Life Assurance Company)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140116_C8639_PHOTO_EN_35498.jpg