Federal Minister of Labour Dr. Kellie Leitch recently wrote to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, asking the group to encourage member carriers to take action to address the issue of psychological health in the workplace.
The minister’s letter refers to sources of data showing that a significant proportion of the Canadian workforce suffers from some form of mental illness and that this in turn impacts on worker productivity, safety and workplace losses. (500,000 Canadians are unable to work because of related disability, with the financial cost to the Canadian economy stemming from mental illnesses is estimated to be approximately $51 billion per year, with about $21 billion per year directly related to workplace losses).
Promoting driver health and wellness is one of the key commitments of the CTA Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage and this issue falls squarely into that envelope, says CTA President David Bradley.
The minister’s letter provides a link to tools that can assist employers in assessing, addressing and mitigating psychological health and safety issues from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). It also enables employees to support their colleagues dealing with mental health issues by connecting them to the appropriate mental health resources.
The issue of mental health in the workplace is a growing concern amongst all industries and governments, with trucking companies certainly not immune from its effects.
During the September 2014 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of Labour, ministers committed to promote the Canadian Standards Association’s voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace as a best practice within our jurisdictions.
“I have been actively encouraging the adoption of the Standard in federally regulated workplaces,” The Minister wrote. “I believe that the Standard can fill a critical need for employers by helping them to assess psychological risks in their workplaces, take action to prevent psychological harm to their employees and deal with mental illnesses when they occur.”
In the meantime, CTA will host a webinar on this issue in the coming while. Details will be forthcoming.