“We do not believe the current level of support for mental health benefits provided by Canadian employers is sufficient and we encourage all companies in Canada to step up and join this important effort,” said Sara Presutto, vice president of human resources at Starbucks Canada.
The coffee giant says all of its Canadian employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week will be eligible for the benefit boost – something the company hopes will help with early intervention when it comes to mental health.
“The statistics are very clear that mental health is an important issue that is affecting many Canadians,” added Presutto.
Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, told HRM that every day, an estimated 500,000 people call in sick to work as a result of mental health problems.
“To ignore that will be our peril,” she stressed. “I really don’t see any way for employers to not pay attention to these things and remain relevant.”
Starbuck’s announcement comes during Mental Health Awareness Week which aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and educate people on the issue.
“We’ve made a great deal of progress but we will have a struggle for some time to come because the whole issue of stigma is something that is quite germane to talking about workplace mental health,” said Bradley.
“I know that every single one of us has a personal story – whether it’s about ourselves or someone we know – but we’re still very reluctant to talk about mental health issues and illness,” she continued.
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Starbucks Canada is calling on employers to bolster their mental health benefits after revealing it will boost its own funding to $5,000 per year for employees.