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The Chair’s Observations

  • Issued: October 2014
  • Content last reviewed: October 2014

The importance of mental health in the workplace has recently been highlighted through the work of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and other initiatives. Recognizing the importance of the issue of traumatic mental stress (TMS) in the workplace, I was honoured to serve as Chair of the roundtable which brought together employer and labour representatives from a range of organizations in sectors where traumatic events are more likely: transit services, police services, nursing, fire services, and emergency medical services.

From the first meeting, it was apparent that the roundtable was a unique opportunity for a cross-sector dialogue on job-related traumatic mental stress. Members brought their individual perspectives and experiences to the table, and shared a common commitment to address the issue of TMS openly and honestly. This included discussing challenges, learning together from expert presentations, and brainstorming ideas for addressing this issue.

I am very pleased with what has been accomplished. This report is about the journey of the TMS roundtable members over the past year. It summarizes the process and serves as a repository of the many ideas that were generated during the discussions and includes a list of tools and resources identified by members.

It is my hope that the report will be of value to members, paving the way for continuing dialogue and consideration of initiatives to address TMS within and across the sectors represented at the roundtable and more broadly across other interested workplaces and organizations, and within government (i.e. dialogue and initiatives).

It has been both a pleasure and a tremendous learning experience to serve as Chair. I would like to thank the members for agreeing to be a part of the roundtable, and for taking ownership and shaping the roundtable process along the way. Thanks goes to the facilitation team comprised of Rick Russell and Julia Kollek, who supported this process and set the right tone for the productive discussions that took place. I would also like to thank our mental health speakers, Dr. Ash Bender and Dr. Rakesh Jetly, for the generous contribution of their time and expertise. Their presentations to the group were highly interesting and contributed to the group’s understanding of the issue. There was also value in having the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) at the table as an observer.

Finally, while the roundtable initiative has concluded, the ministry remains engaged and committed to continue to work with stakeholders on opportunities to support effective workplace practices on traumatic mental stress.

Sincerely,

Reg Pearson
Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Labour

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