CORNWALL, ON, May 5, 2015 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Scott Armstrong, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour, addressed health and safety experts at the 2015 Light the Way and Chemical Dependency Education and Rehabilitation Program National Conference in Cornwall today. Mr. Armstrong encouraged them to continue working together to address mental health challenges in the workplace.
The conference, hosted by NAV Canada, brought together mental health advocates, physicians, addiction experts, occupational health nurses and members of NAV Canada's peer support program to share information, tools and best practices for supporting individuals affected by mental illness.
Mr. Armstrong stressed the importance of adopting strategies for dealing with the psychological health of employees, citing the personal, societal and economic tolls of mental illness in the workplace. He also commended organizations that have implemented mental health initiatives such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada's National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, and challenged others to do the same.
The Government of Canada is committed to creating safe, fair and productive workplaces and to improving the health of Canadians. The Labour Program supports this commitment by enforcing workplace health and safety regulations under the Canada Labour Code and by working collaboratively to promote and address mental health in the workplace. This is also why the Government committed to renew the Mental Health Commission of Canada's mandate for another 10 years in Economic Action Plan 2015.
- Of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, 5 are mental disorders.
- Studies show that nearly half—47 percent—of working Canadians consider their job to be the most stressful part of their life.
- In 2011, the annual financial cost to the Canadian economy stemming from mental illnesses was estimated at over $48 billion.
- The voluntary National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace provides guidelines, resources and tools to help employers create and maintain healthier workplaces. In its first year, the National Standard was downloaded more than 23,000 times.
- Sixty percent of people with a mental health problem or illness won't seek help for fear of stigma.
"Workplace mental health is a rising concern, and the issue needs to be brought to the forefront. Investing in employee well-being, both physical and psychological, can have a tremendous impact on reducing workplace injury and illness, while promoting positive workplace culture. The Light the Way and Chemical Dependency Education and Rehabilitation Program National Conference is a great example of health and safety advocates coming together to discuss best practices on how to address mental health."
– Scott Armstrong, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour
"On behalf of our many peer supporters across the country—volunteers with lived experience and a desire to build compassionate workplaces—we thank Mr. Armstrong for his supportive remarks today. Peer supporters in all walks of life inspire hope in co‑workers facing similar situations and help them explore options for a way forward. Their leadership helps reduce the stigma around mental illness—a condition that leaves no life untouched."
– Richard Dixon, Vice President and Human Resources Officer for NAV CANADA
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Andrew McGrath, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P.. Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, 819-953-5646, [email protected]; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]