2014 CAE Recipient Profile - Mental Health Commission of Canada

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health issues. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the MHCC brings together leaders and organizations from across the country to accelerate these changes. Each of its initiatives and projects is led by experts who bring a variety of perspectives and experience to the table. The MHCC’s staff, Board, Advisory Council, Youth Council, and Network of Ambassadors share the same goal—creating a better mental health system for all Canadians. The MHCC is funded by Health Canada and has a 10-year mandate (2007-2017). Among its initiatives, the MHCC’s work includes the country’s first mental health strategy, working to reduce stigma, advancing knowledge exchange in mental health, and examining how best to help people who are homeless and living with mental health problems.

In its role as a catalyst, the MHCC has created partnerships to focus on key projects and issues, and to make recommendations on how best to improve the systems that are directly related to mental health care. Examples include the justice system, primary health care, workplace, housing, and others that impact the lives of Canadians living with a mental health problem or illness and their families. The MHCC provides its recommendations to governments, service providers, community leaders, and many others, and works with these partners to implement them so improvements are made.

The MHCC also recognizes the need to become a model organization for optimizing the health of its employees, and believes that the physical and psychological wellbeing and safety of employees are key aspects leading to organizational success and sustainability. It further recognizes that it is a shared responsibility of employees and the organization as a whole to promote and enhance working relationships consistent with the principles of mutual respect, confidentiality, and cooperation.

To this end, the Commission is committed to working collaboratively with its employees to create and sustain a healthy and safe work environment. The MHCC’s Physical and Psychological Health, Safety, and Wellness Committee is a primary steward for the process. The MHCC recognizes that employee participation is an essential component in a healthy and safe workplace, employees can – through this committee and other feedback mechanisms - participate in the development, implementation, and continual improvement of a healthy and safe work environment.

The Commission began to formally integrate workplace mental health initiatives in 2012 as was championed by our President and Chief Executive Officer in conjunction with the release of the new National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The organization’s Wellness Framework is a continuous improvement process that includes gathering facts such as organizational metrics and surveys, analyzing the findings, developing priorities and objectives, implementing various strategies, and evaluating the outcomes.

Key initiatives implemented since 2012 include a formal, Board of Directors-approved, policy statement on Psychological and Physical Health Safety,  mental health training for all staff, mandatory leadership training, policy adjustments incorporating mental health principles, integrated risk assessment process, competency framework, and corresponding health, safety, and wellness competency and enhanced benefits that promote both physical and psychological health.

The Commission was awarded with Excellence Canada’s Mental Health @ Work Silver Level award in 2013 and with continuous effort and implementation of mental health initiatives and dedication and commitment from both the Commission’s employees and Board of Directors, the MHCC was subsequently awarded with the Gold Level award in 2014.