Last year I told you about the plan to release a voluntary national standard for mentally healthy workplaces. The standard aims to help Canadian employers support the psychological health and safety of their employees by providing them with the necessary guidelines and tools to achieve measurable improvements in psychological health and safety in the workplace. A draft of the standard was released on November 1, 2011 without much coverage and a consultation period followed which ended January 6, 2012. The final Standard is expected to be published in late summer 2012.
Unfortunately, since the consultation period is over, the draft of the standard is no longer available online. You can still obtain a copy by calling the CSA Standards or any of their partners championing the development of the Standard.
Luckily, Cheryl A. Edwards and Shane Todd from Heenan Blaikie LLP have prepared a very in-depth analysis of the proposed Standard and you can view it here.
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.
Thus, it will be interesting to see how the government, advocacy groups, associations like the CSA, mental health agencies and private sector will assist employers with solutions, resources and tools to deal with this important issue.