Entries in mental health (2)


Workplace Mental Health Top of Mind 

By: Kerri Davies, Manager of Development, Canadian Mental Health Association, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge

May 2nd to 8th is Mental Health Week, a good time to talk about Mental Health in the Workplace. In 2013 the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the voluntary National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  This document mentalhealthcommission.ca was developed to help organizations
strive towards a vision of a workplace that works to prevent harm to worker’s psychological health while also promoting psychological well-being.  

According to The Standards, “Workplaces with a positive approach to psychological health and safety are better able to recruit and retain talent, have improved employee engagement, enhanced productivity, are more creative and innovative, and have higher profit levels.” The study indicates the economic cost of mental health problems and illness to the Canadian economy is at least $50 billion per year. This was 2.8% of Canada’s gross domestic product, in 2011. 500,000 Canadians in any given week are unable to work due to mental health problems and 1 in 3 disability claims are related to mental illness. Furthermore, stress causes 19% of absenteeism, 40% of turnover, and 60% of workplace accidents. 

At the end of the day, while we know that mental illness will affect 1 in 3 over a lifetime, ultimately mental illness affects us all. With only 50% of individuals living with mental illness ever seeking help – most often due to stigma – workplaces play a significant role in helping to reduce that stigma and helping people to find supports to enable them to live mentally healthy and productive lives – to the benefit our whole community.

More: cmhahkpr.ca


Chamber Network supports mental health strategy

In May of 2015, the Ontario Chamber Network went on record with recommendations to the provincial government on the issue of mental health and the workplace.  


  1. Develop a comprehensive workplace mental health strategy that emphasizes mental health awareness, education and rehabilitation for employees. The strategy must not be prescriptive or place an additional burden on businesses but should instead be focused on improving mental health awareness.
  2. Broaden the focus of regional mental health centres to include workplace mental health issues enabling them to refer to agencies or for-profit local providers to treat employees of local workplaces by providing workplace-oriented programs.
  3. Create a public education and awareness campaign on the social and economic value of workplace mental health and the availability of community workplace-oriented resources.


According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the total economic cost arising from mental health problems and illnesses is at least $50 billion per year. Health care, social services and income support costs make up the biggest proportion of these costs, but the costs to business are also staggering: Canadian businesses experience $6.4 billion in lost productivity (from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover) every year. If left unabated,the cost to business will increase to $16.0 billion by 2041.



Peterborough Chamber of Commerce helps set lobbying agenda at Ontario Chamber AGM









The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is in business to help strengthen your business.  That’s exactly what was happening in Cornwall this past weekend when over 120 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade gathered for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (OCC AGM).  The delegates were gathered to debate the recommendationsto government from over 40 policy resolutions. 

Board Chair Pat Marren, President & CEO Stuart Harrison and Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck brought forward two resolutions on behalf of the Peterborough Chamber membership.  

The first resolution was in partnership with the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce and calls on the provincial government to bring the "Heads and Beds Levy" more in-line with today's costs. The payment in lieu of taxes from post-secondary institutions, hospitals and correctional facilities has not changed from the current value of $75 since 1987, which puts a significant strain on local residential and commercial tax rates.  It’s estimated that adjusting the heads and beds levy to reflect inflation would provide approximately $1.1 million in additional funds to the City of Peterborough’s annual budget. The resolution passed.  

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce also brought forward a resolution asking for support of the Energy East Project. The Chamber Network had great debate on this issue including two very close votes on several amendments. In the end, the Network supported the project with a recommendation to the National Energy Board to carefully investigate the impact on natural gas supply and prices.  

"This conference is where the local Chambers are able to bring their issues to the provincial level," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. "The Energy East resolution brought forward by the Peterborough Chamber was relevant and fostered an informative conversation on a project that will have significant and positive economic impact on Peterborough, the province and Canada." 

Through the policy resolution process, the Chamber Network has officially identified the Energy East project as a major economic driver for the province of Ontario and here at home.  GE Peterborough has been awarded the contract to build the motors that will move the oil through the pipeline.  This contract will bring 250 jobs to the city and is a positive reflection of government strategically investing in our business community.  The Chamber Network has included strategic business investment in its “Emerging Stronger” lobbying platform for the past four years.  The National Energy Board will be assessing the project based on economic impact, safety and environmental concerns.    

Board Chair Pat Marren also spoke in favour of a resolution from the Tillsonburg Chamber of Commerce calling for a one-permit system for trucking companies in the province.   “As someone who is in this business and actually deals with the permit renewal process in my company I would like to see this resolution remain on the books,” Marren told the delegates. “My company is required to get an Ontario permit for all Kings’ highways plus 20-25 townships or municipalities separately throughout the year.  Each permit requires Certificates of Insurance, WSIB Clearance certificates plus the application for each municipality which is slightly different in each case.  One annual permit that covers the entire province would save countless man hours and help us improve productivity.”  

A resolution on WSIB reform also received approval from the delegates.  Of particular note was a call for
exemption from WSIB coverage for those construction employers who have obtained comprehensive 24/7 insurance coverage.

Chambers from across the province also debated and approved a suggested course of action for a mental health strategy in the workplace.  In all four recommendations were made including asking the Government of Ontario to develop a comprehensive workplace mental health strategy that emphasizes mental health awareness, education and rehabilitation for employees.  The strategy must not be prescriptive or place an additional burden on businesses but should instead be focused on improving mental health awareness.

Reducing the growing cumulative regulatory burden on business was also an issue of high priority for the Chamber Network and one that will take centre stage in the coming months.

The Ontario Chamber Network also passed recommendations to government on the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, electricity, the College of Trades, agri-business and installing and developing a province-wide broadband strategy. 

As a result of the policy work the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is channeling the collective strength of the business community in Peterborough.

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.