OHS Canada Magazine

Mental Health Commission of Canada launches new program to promote workplace psychological safety

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March 11, 2024
By Todd Humber

Health & Safety

Photo: Panitan/Adobe Stock

Employers who want to foster a psychologically safe workplace are getting more support from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

It’s developing what it calls an “innovative new program” that will support employers, it said, thanks to $820,000 in funding over three years from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The project will be led by Opening Minds, the training arm of the MHCC that has developed evidence-based programs promoting wellness and mental health resilience and reducing the associated stigma.

Better understanding

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, it said.

Occupational health and safety (OHS) audits provide employers with detailed information about their systems and processes for managing OHS, it said, and 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 goal is 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, it said.

“This contribution from ESDC will support us in creating a credible, reputable and sustainable psychological health and safety audit program,” said MHCC president and CEO, Michel Rodrigue. “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.

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 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


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