About the Standard

About the Standard

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National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard)

Championed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), and developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec, the Standard is a voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources focused on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing psychological harm due to workplace factors.


Launched in January 2013, the Standard is first of its kind in the world and has already garnered much attention and uptake from coast to coast, internationally, and across all sectors and sizes, as leaders champion the need to focus on psychological health and safety in the workplace. (See the video at the top of the page and/or visit MHCC's website for more information about the Standard.)

​The Standard provides a systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, including:

  • the identification of psychological hazards in the workplace

  • the assessment and control of the risks in the workplace associated with hazards that cannot be eliminated (e.g. stressors due to organizational change or reasonable job demands)

  • the implementation of practices that support and promote psychological health and safety 

  • in the workplace

  • the growth of a culture that promotes psychological health and safety 

  • in the workplace

  • the implementation of measurement and review systems to ensure sustainability.

Whose responsibility is it?

CrisisButton(1).pngIt’s everyone’s responsibility. Each of the following groups or individuals plays a part in addressing psychological health and safety in the workplace:

  • Employers/unions

  • Workers

  • Safety and health committees

  • Safety professionals

  • All industries/all sizes

  • Service providers

Why is the Standard so important?

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, approximately one in five Canadians, or 7 million fellow citizens, will experience a mental health problem this year and many of these problems relate in some way to the workplace. Those affected are employees in their prime working years. 

Did you know? 

  • The estimated cost of mental illnesses to the Canadian economy is about $50 billion/year.

  • On average, in any given week, 500,000 Canadians are unable to work due to mental illness.

  • One in three workplace disability claims are related to mental illness.

  • 70 per cent of disability costs are attributed to mental illness.

These numbers represent an enormous cost to the system. In general, work is where the majority of Canadians spend most of their time. Creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace will benefit both employees and organizations, but this does not need to involve a significant financial investment, nor a complete change in what your organization is already doing. 

It’s Simply Good Business

Psychological health and safety in the workplace is an issue that impacts all workplaces and can no longer be ignored. Keeping the workforce healthy and productive is simply smart business and good for the bottom line.

Adopting the Standard and incorporating it into an existing health and safety management system can help your organization with: 

  • Productivity

  • Financial performance

  • Risk management

  • Organizational recruitment

  • Employee retention. 

Work environments with a positive approach to their employees' mental health are socially responsible. 

Employees want to work for and stay in companies where their psychological safety is considered. No longer just the right thing to do, the Standard was born from the strong business case that informs employers it’s also the smart thing to do. Now, employers also have a legal duty to maintain not only a physically safe workplace, but also a psychologically safe work environment.

There are current and emerging legal and regulatory mandates that articulate employer responsibilities in this area. Dr. Martin Shain, a leader in workplace mental health, developed the "Shain Reports", which suggest employers study the Standard as an effective way to weather potential liability for psychological injury. View a summary of the Shain Reports.

Start implementing your psychological health and safety program today! Browse the Getting Started and Resources pages to view information and resources SAFE Work Manitoba has gathered to help you get started. 

SAFE Work Manitoba has made all reasonable attempts to confirm the information that appears on the Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace section of our website is accurate and up-to-date. However, the information is a guide for general information purposes only and may require amendments from time to time. SAFE Work Manitoba cannot assume responsibility or liability for reliance by the third-parties referenced in this section.

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