Psychological Health and Safety

Workplace Mental Health and The National Standard

Maintaining good mental health at work is crucial for Canadian adults, who spend most of their waking hours in the workplace. Unfortunately, 70% of Canadian employees worry about their psychological well-being and safety while on the job. In fact, 14% believe that their workplace is not healthy or safe at all. Such environments can take a personal toll on individuals and have a negative impact on the economy.

Mental health problems and illnesses are responsible for approximately 30% of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada. The Canadian economy loses over $50 billion annually due to these issues.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada to draw on the experience, knowledge and wisdom of thousands of people across the country and provide an opportunity for everyone’s efforts – large and small – to help bring about change. The strategy includes creating the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. In partnership with Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) and Bureau de normalisation du Quebec (BNQ), the standards were developed and approved by the Standards Council of Canada.


The Standard is framed around recognizing and taking action to realize 13 psychosocial factors that can impact the mental health of employees in the workplace. It is a collection of voluntary guidelines, resources, and tools aimed at assisting organizations in fostering mental wellbeing and preventing psychological harm in the workplace.

13 Factors of Psychological Health and Safety

+ 2 Factors Relevant to the Healthcare Sector

Psychological and Social Support
Comprises all supportive social interactions available at work, either with co-workers or supervisors.
Organizational Culture
A mix of norms, values, beliefs, meanings, and expectations that group members hold in common and that they use as behavioural and problem-solving cues.
Clear Leadership and Expectations
Leadership is effective and provides sufficient support that helps workers know what they need to do, explains how their work contributes to the organization, and discusses the nature and expected outcomes of impending changes.
Civility and Respect
Present in a work environment where workers are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients, and the public.
Psychological Demands
Psychological demands assessment of the job will allow organizations to determine whether any given activity of the job might be a hazard to the worker’s health and well being.
Growth and Development
A work environment where workers receive encouragement and support in the development of their interpersonal, emotional, and job skills.
Recognition and Reward
Present in a work environment where there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of workers’ efforts in a fair and timely manner.
Workload Management
Present in a work environment where assigned tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available.
Present in a work environment where workers enjoy and feel connected to their work and where they feel motivated to do their job well.
Present in a work environment where there is acceptance of the need for a sense of harmony between the demands of personal life, family, and work.
Protection of Physical Safety
Present when a worker’s psychological, as well as physical safety, is protected from hazards and risks related to the worker’s physical environment.
Psychological Protection
Workplace psychological safety is demonstrated when workers feel able to put themselves on the line, ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences to themselves, their job, or their career.
Support for Psychological Self-Care
A health-care workplace where staff are encouraged to care for their own psychological health and safety.
Protection from Moral Distress
Workplace psychological safety is demonstrated when workers feel able to put themselves on the line, ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences to themselves, their job, or their career.
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Why should your organization implement a psychological health and safety management system?

Building the Foundation and Assembling the Pieces

The vision for a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that actively works to prevent harm to
worker psychological health, including in negligent, reckless, or intentional ways, and promotes
psychological well-being. 

Supporting Psychological Health and Safety in Continuing Care

The Working Mind

Promotion of Workers' Mental Health

As part of our Psychological Health and Safety Program, CCSA has partnered with the Canadian Association for Long-Term Care (CALTC) to support a grant they have received from the federal government to boost resiliency and mental health education with staff in long-term care across the country.

Read More

Prevention of Psychological Harm

Government of Alberta OHS Prevention Initiative

The OHS prevention initiative focuses on reducing common workplace injuries, protecting at-risk workers and identifying higher-risk work situations. The initiative also coordinates efforts between OHS system partners to achieve better health and safety outcomes.


Psychological Protection from Violence and Harassment

"Violence and Harassment" has been 1 of the top 5 injury causes in the continuing care industry. CCSA has adapted the evidence-based Violence and Aggression, Responsive Behavior (VARB) Toolkits and Resources from Ontario's Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA). A Psychologically safe and healthy organization actively tries to prevent harm to workers from harassment, bullying, discrimination, violence, or stigma. 

Violence and Harassment Prevention Program

                         CCSA has signed the Declaration of commitment to Psychological Health and Safety in Healthcare. 

As signatories of the Declaration of Commitment to Psychological Health and Safety in Healthcare, we demonstrate our commitment to: 

  • Take action in alignment with the principles of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace;
  • Recognize the value of our staff’s psychological health and safety and its interdependence with patient safety; and that creating a psychologically safe work environment benefits both patients and staff;
  • Cultivate a workplace culture that respects our staff’s needs including, but not limited to, their psychological health and safety; and,
  • Be leaders and champions for advancing workplace psychological health and safety

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