Employers’ Perspectives on the Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

Abstract

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada, with costs estimated at 51 billion dollars annually in addition to significant social costs. The Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard), recently released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, aims to promote psychological health and safety in Canadian workplaces. The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of Canadian employers on the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Ten employers from large, medium, and small workplaces participated in qualitative semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis was used to identify themes. Employers are concerned with workplace mental health and see value in the Standard, but are relatively uninformed about it. Employers identified leadership as a critical ingredient for effective Standard implementation, and believed that benefits of the Standard can be far reaching. Roger’s (2003) Diffusion of Innovations model is applied to conceptualize the uptake of this important social change. Employers’ perspectives and foundational knowledge about the Standard provides a starting point for collaborations between human resource professionals, workplace consultants, and workplace leaders to move the implementation of the Standard forward and create psychologically healthy work environments.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all our interviewees for their participation and the rich information they provided.

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Correspondence to Laura Kalef.

Additional information

Laura Kalef and Courtney Rubin were MSc(OT) students in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the time of writing. Cindy Malachowski was a doctoral candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto at time of writing.

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Kalef, L., Rubin, C., Malachowski, C. et al. Employers’ Perspectives on the Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Employ Respons Rights J 28, 101–112 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10672-015-9270-9

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Keywords

  • Standard
  • Mental health
  • Workplace
  • Psychological health and safety