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Implementing the CSA Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

Stressed worker with head down on pile of documents
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) recently released early findings of a project examining implementation of the CSA Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace standard.
The three-year Case Study Research Project follows 41 organizations across Canada to better understand how they and other workplaces are implementing the processes laid out in the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace standard developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Launched in January 2013, the Standard (CSA-Z1003-13) was commissioned by the MHCC. It is a voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources focused on promoting worker psychological health and preventing psychological harm related to workplace factors. According to the MHCC, it is the first of its kind in the world.
The goals of the Case Study Research Project are to monitor progress; identify promising practices, as well as challenges and barriers to implementation; and develop tools that will enhance adoption of the Standard by employers across Canada.
The interim report on the Project outlines progress made by the 41 participating organizations pioneering the Standard.
The key findings of the Project are as follows:
  • 90 per cent of participating organizations noted “protecting the psychological health of employees” as the top reason for implementing the Standard;
  • Organizations are using absenteeism rates, uptake of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and short and long-term disability rates to assess employee psychological health;
  • 80 per cent have reviewed and revised their current policy, with 67 per cent crafting a new policy;
  • 80 per cent of organizations offer EAP services and a percentage of this group are working to expand their services specific to psychological health.
Those workplaces that volunteered to implement the CSA Standard report significant improvements in worker wellbeing and productivity. Some of the key practices influencing their success are as follows:
  1. Communication of organization’s motivation for implementing the Standard;
  2. Clear and firm commitment by the leadership;
  3. Specific protocols for identifying and managing psychological hazards;
  4. Collaboration with stakeholders;
  5. Incorporation of evidence from primary research and industry best practices; and,
  6. Integration of psychological health into any organizational change.
MHCC says early findings confirm the Standard can be implemented in all types of workplaces in Canada. They add, investing in the workforce’s mental health is simply good business.
The MHCC will continue to work with participating organizations to gather more evidence and release final results in the spring of 2017.
For our part, the Workers Health and Safety Centre continues to assist workplace parties through training programs and information services aimed at raising awareness about workplace stressors and targeting prevention at the workplace level.
To learn more:
Visit  or
Call 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a WHSC training services representative.
Want to read the Case Study Research Project: Early findings interim report?
Want to read National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: Prevention, promotion, and guidance to stage implementation (CSA‑Z1003‑13)?