There is no generally-accepted national standard for how employers – and employees – should deal with mental health issues in the workplace. The Canadian Standards Association is attempting to change that.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental illnesses and mental health issues are the leading cause of short- and long- term disability in the country. The cost of dealing with these issues is in the range of $51 billion per year, with almost $20 billion of that amount coming from workplace losses. However, assistance is on the way.
The Canadian Standards Association has announced a public consultation period with respect to its development of a new, voluntary National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The goal of the standard is to provide employees and employers with guidance and tools to assist them in improving the psychological health and safety of employees in the workplace. The CSA says that the implementation of the standard is aimed, in part, at assisting employers by helping them to lower rates of absenteeism, workplace injuries, disability costs and legal risk while also reducing turnover, enhancing recruitment and increasing employee engagement. The consultation period runs until December 31, 2011.
For background information, see the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s backgrounder: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/Workforce_2011/Workforce-Standard-Backgrounder-FINAL.pdf
For further information from the Canadian Standards Association, including information on how to participate in the public consultation, see: http://www.csa.ca/cm/ca/en/news/article/public-consultation-workplace-mental-health-standard