PSAC pushes for new health and safety standards

by |
Mental health conditions, including stress, anxiety and depression, account for nearly half of all disability claims among unionized federal employees and now the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is pushing the government to better protect its workers and adopt national standards for a “psychologically healthy” workplace.

Mental health contributes to the “overall wellness and productivity of the federal public service,” said PSAC president Robyn Benson. If the proposal is accepted it would be the first time federal contracts covered the psychological health of its employees.

PSAC is urging the government to work with unions to identify working conditions and practices that encourage harassment, discrimination, verbal abuse and disrespect – all of which could potentially lead to mental illness.

Job pressures, unreasonable deadlines, work overload, and too little influence over day-to-day work have all been found to cause stress, anxiety and depression.

The government’s mental health claims are among the highest in the country and mental health advocates have long argued that the government should be setting an example to Canada’s employers. If successful, the proposal will set a precedent for the 17 other unions representing public servants and changes could soon be in motion.

Regulation could soon change and employers will be forced to ask themselves the difficult question: “How can I better handle mental health in the workplace?”

In April, industry experts will gather to discuss the hidden costs and unspoken challenges of accommodating disability and mental health in the workplace. The HR Masterclass will address common pitfalls in defining accommodation and leave as well as covering human rights implications and performance expectations.

To find out more about managing disability and mental health in the workplace visit

More like this:  

2015 – the year of employee burn-out?  

Supporting your employees through bereavement

Employees and alcohol addiction
  • Tom from Burnaby BC on 2015-01-19 2:41:47 PM

    I remember attending WCB roll out programs awhile ago to hear about new workplace programs to strengthen health, safety and wellness awareness and gov employees attending always wondered why WCB did not represent their workplace?

    Maybe it is time that WorkSafeBC and all worksafe across Canada moved in this jurisdiction federal workplace legislation direction to shore up national consistency.

    Sounds like it would level the playing field immensely.

    What do others think?

  • Helena Dyck on 2015-01-19 7:20:16 PM

    This is a very interesting article. For years I have heard that the governement employees have free ride so to speak. Long breaks, work that does not necessarily take the full 37.5 hours a week to complete and free time. These are comments I have heard from emplyees and thier families for the past 20 years. Helena Dyck CHRL

  • Tom from Burnaby BC on 2015-01-19 7:37:32 PM

    Helena. what province in Canada do you live in?

    If you are from USA I have heard similar stories. But not lately?

    Would yo be kind enough to elaborate with thanks

  • Helena Dyck on 2015-01-19 9:20:31 PM

    I live in the province of BC. I have heard these comments even in the past two years.

    There are some jobs that may not have accountability in them and or supervisors are protecting workers.

HRM Online forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions