About Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

The National Standard of Canada titled Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation is a voluntary standard focused on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors.

One in five Canadians experience a mental health problem or mental illness in any given year and many of the most at risk individuals are in their early working years. Canadians spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else,” says Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) President and CEO Louise Bradley. “It’s time to start thinking about mental well-being in the same way as we consider physical well-being, and the Standard offers the framework needed to help make this happen in the workplace.”

The standard provides a systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, including:

  • The identification of psychological hazards in the workplace;
  • The assessment and control of the risks in the workplace associated with hazards that cannot be eliminated (e.g. stressors due to organizational change or reasonable job demands);
  • The implementation of practices that support and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace;
  • The growth of a culture that promotes psychological health and safety in the workplace;
  • The implementation of measurement and review systems to ensure sustainability.

This voluntary national standard is the result of a collaborative effort between MHCC, The Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), and is supported by scientific literature from many relevant areas of workplace health and safety, social science, and law. There is also a clear business case which supports the need for continual improvement of psychological health and safety in the workplace,” says Bonnie Rose, President, Standards,  CSA Group. “Workplaces with a positive approach to psychological health and safety have improved employee engagement, enhanced productivity, and a better financial outlook.”

The voluntary standard is not intended to be adopted into federal, provincial, or territorial legislation. It can be used differently by businesses and organizations of all sizes depending upon their needs. Some businesses may use the standard as a starting point and focus on creating policies and processes to promote mental health, while others may determine that several aspects of the Standard are already in place and use the Standard to build upon their existing efforts.

From the Mental Health Commission of Canada press release: "National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace released," Toronto, Ontario, January 16, 2013.