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Mental Health Commission of Canada leads development of new program to support employers with psychological health and safety audits

March 5, 2024 – Ottawa, Ont.: 

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) will see the development of an innovative new program that will support Canadian employers who want to foster the psychological health and safety of their workers.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is contributing approximately $820,000 over three years to support the creation of MHCC’s Psychological Health and Safety Audit Program. This project will be led by Opening Minds, the MHCC training arm that has developed evidence-based programs promoting mental health and wellness, resilience and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Opening Minds is working to support employers that want to implement effective strategies and programs to protect and promote the psychological health and safety (PHS) of workers. Just as how occupational health and safety (OHS) audits provide employers with detailed information about their systems and processes for managing OHS, the MHCC Psychological Health and Safety Audit Program is being designed to help organizations better understand how to embed PHS in the way they work.

The funding for this project will enable Opening Minds to develop a robust evidence-based training and qualification program, certify auditors to conduct Opening Minds PHS Audits, and pilot the program with a number of employers. Ultimately, paving the way for Opening Minds to provide PHS audits to companies and organizations across Canada.

Through the PHS Audit program and the expert guidance of the trained auditors, organizations will gain valuable evidence to enhance their decision-making processes concerning employee mental health.

“This contribution from ESDC will support us in creating a credible, reputable and sustainable psychological health and safety audit program,” said MHCC vice-president of Opening Minds, Shane Silver. “Ultimately, this program will enable us to create more informed employers, psychologically safer workplaces, more engaged workforces, and mentally healthier communities.”

“Mental care is healthcare. I am pleased to see MHCC developing cutting edge psychological health programs for workers,” said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault. “I want to congratulate MHCC on this innovative project, which will lead to improving health and wellness for workers from coast to coast to coast.”

The MHCC PHS Audit Program is currently being piloted with a small group of auditors and organizations. An independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the project will be conducted, with a final report to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

How Employers Can Participate in the MHCC PHS Audit Program

An audit will help employers determine what they have in place and what is missing. Employers that are interested in participating in the audit program begin with attending on the MHCC training course on Integrating Psychological Health and Safety. This course prepares them for undertaking an MHCC PHS Audit. Employers can have their own internal auditors trained and qualified by Opening Minds or they can engage a third-party auditor through Opening Minds. 

How Individuals Can Become Certified to Conduct MHCC PHS Audits

All auditors, including internal and third-party auditors, will be trained and qualified through the MHCC PHS Audit Program. Training for auditors includes the Integrating Psychological Health and Safety course as a pre-requisite to the 5-day Auditor Training course. To become fully certified, auditors must successfully complete the training and conduct their first audit, meeting MHCC PHS Audit Quality Assurance requirements.  

For more information about participating in the audit program, contact phs@openingminds.org

About Employment and Social Development Canada:
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) works to improve the standard of living and quality of life for all Canadians by promoting a labour force that is highly skilled and promoting an efficient and inclusive labour market.

About the Mental Health Commission of Canada:

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a registered charity created to focus national attention on mental health issues. Our work is to improve the mental health outcomes for all people living in Canada. Opening Minds is the MHCC training arm that provides evidence-based training programs that promote mental health and wellness, resilience and eliminate stigma around the world.

Government of Canada logo with text "Funded in part by Government of Canada's Strategic Engagement and Research Program"

MHCC media contact: Liz Horvath


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