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Federal labour minister urges truckers to address workplace mental health

| www.cos-mag.com

Federal Minister of Labour Kellie Leitch recently wrote to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, asking the group to encourage member carriers to take action to address the issue of psychological health in the workplace.

The minister’s letter refers to sources of data showing that a significant proportion of the Canadian workforce suffers from some form of mental illness and that this in turn impacts on worker productivity, safety and workplace losses. About 500,000 Canadians are unable to work because of related disability, with the financial cost to the Canadian economy stemming from mental illnesses is estimated to be $51 billion per year, with about $21 billion per year directly related to workplace losses.

Promoting driver health and wellness is one of the key commitments of the CTA Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage and this issue falls squarely into that envelope, said CTA president David Bradley.

The issue of mental health in the workplace is a growing concern amongst all industries and governments, with trucking companies certainly not immune from its effects, said the CTA.

During the September 2014 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of Labour, ministers committed to promote the Canadian Standards Association’s voluntary National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace as a best practice within our jurisdictions.

“I have been actively encouraging the adoption of the standard in federally regulated workplaces,” Leitch wrote. “I believe that the standard can fill a critical need for employers by helping them to assess psychological risks in their workplaces, take action to prevent psychological harm to their employees and deal with mental illnesses when they occur.”

In the meantime, CTA is working on a webinar on this issue for its members.

Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

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