National workplace psychological standard to be released Jan. 16

Left unchecked, mental illness will cost Canadian businesses nearly $200 billion over next 30 years: MHCC

A new national standard intended to help promote good mental health and prevent harm in the workplace will be released on Jan. 16.

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace will be launched by Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt, who will join the three groups that developed the standard: the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec (BNQ) and the CSA Group, formerly known as the Canadian Standards Association.

The standard is the first of its kind in the world, according to a press release issued by the three groups.

“Nearly 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are related to mental health problems and illnesses,” the release reads. “In some major employment sectors, that number is closer to 50 per cent.”

By implementing the standard, companies will be able to help ensure the overall health and safety of their employees in an efficient and cost-effective manner, the group says.

One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness,” the release also says. “A 2011 study commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) predicts that, if not addressed, the impact of mental health problems will cost Canadian businesses $198 billion in lost productivity over the next 30 years.”

The standard will be offered for free on the CSA Group’s website during its initial years while the standard undergoes the required review and revision process.

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