Toronto – The Ontario government brought together workers, employers and experts from a wide range of sectors at a Summit on Work-Related Traumatic Mental Stress on March 5, 2015. More than 150 participants from the policing, fire services, emergency medical services, corrections, health care, transit and social services sectors shared their experiences and workplace best practices in dealing with traumatic mental stress.
The summit opened with a keynote address by humanitarian and decorated Lieutenant-General the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (ret’d), who drew on his insights and experiences to highlight the importance of dealing effectively with work-related traumatic mental stress and psychological health.
“The goals of this Summit were to elevate the conversation around work-related traumatic mental stress and take the next step toward helping those who suffer and those at risk, and I believe we accomplished that today,” said Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn. “The lessons learned and best practices shared here will propel sectors in which traumatic mental stress is prevalent to implement cultural and organizational change, with an emphasis on prevention, making workplaces healthier and safer.”
Summit participants also heard from a number of experts and leaders who have spearheaded change within their organizations. They learned about innovative approaches to support cultural change and reduce the stigma associated with mental health illnesses, and how to enhance the mental health and safety of employees.
Ensuring workers and employers have the resources they need to succeed is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
The Canadian Mental Health Commission has reported that, in any given year, one in five people in Canada experience a mental health illness, with a cost to the economy of more than $50 billion.