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CCOHS offers tools to assess and address psychological health and safety in Canadian workplaces

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), in partnership with the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, is helping workplaces in Canada take action on psychological health and safety with the online toolkit, Guarding Minds at Work.

Guarding Minds at Work is designed to assess and address psychological health and safety in the workplace and is available to all employers – large or small, in the public or private sector – at no cost. The tool provides employers with an eight-step process to conduct a thorough audit of their organization's mental health, using worksheets, surveys and reports that evaluate psychosocial risk factors in their workplace. 

Guarding Minds at Work was originally developed in 2009 by research-practitioners from the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA) within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

In an effort to help affect positive change in as many Canadian workplaces as possible, Guarding Minds at Work remains free to use, is available in English and French, and provides a baseline from which to compare organizations with a 2016 nationally representative sample of industries.

The tool offers human resource professionals, managers, supervisors, union representatives, and small or mid-sized business owners a practical resource to focus on psychological health and safety in their workplace, undertake appropriate interventions, and measure the effectiveness of their actions. Guarding Minds at Work can also be used to help organizations as they implement the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, launched in January 2013, is a set of voluntary guidelines, tools and resources to assist organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work.

"Guarding Minds at Work was one of the inspirations for the development of the Standard. It seems fitting that as the Standard celebrates its fifth year anniversary; Guarding Minds at Work is evolving to meet increasing demand," said Mary Ann Baynton, program director for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.

Gareth Jones, vice president – Operations, at CCOHS, noted, "We know that employers and employees alike benefit from a mentally healthy workplace. But for many, the efforts required to address psychological hazards can be daunting. Our goal is to help organizations meet these challenges by offering credible tools and resources that they can use to create safer, healthier workplaces in Canada. Guarding Minds at Work is one such resource."

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