The Economic Club of Canada

The Economic Club of Canada

June 26, 2015 11:30 ET

The Mental Health at Work Challenge Cross-Canada Tour Concludes

Event series featured business leaders and mental health advocates united to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues in the workplace

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 26, 2015) - The Economic Club of Canada along with representatives from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Cookson James Loyalty, Excellence Canada and Mental Health International, this week, concluded the final leg of a the cross-Canada 'Wellth Management' tour. The series worked to open up dialogue and encourage workplaces to implement the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard).

The tour debuted with the help of Margaret Trudeau at the launch in Toronto last fall and brought together business leaders, mental health advocates and special guest, HRH, Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark to sign the Wellth Management 'Mental Health at Work Challenge®' memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU outlines for employers a framework that will help them protect and improve the psychological health and safety of their employees - in any given week as many as 500,000 people do not go to work due to mental illness -- and to reduce the more than $51-billion spent on issues related to mental health and addiction annually.

The final leg of the tour, with stops in Calgary, Ottawa and Halifax, featured André Picard, national public health reporter at The Globe and Mail and Orlando Da Silva, President of the Ontario Bar Association and mental health advocate. The Calgary edition also featured mental health expert Dr. Pratap R. Chokka, Founder and CEO of the Chokka Center for Integrative Health and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Dr. Ash Bender, Staff Psychiatrist and Head of the Work, Stress and Health Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), joined the panels in Ottawa and Halifax.

"As a lawyer who lives with chronic depression, I know it's not always easy to speak up and seek the support of colleagues in the workplace," says Orlando Da Silva, President, Ontario Bar Association. "As President of the Ontario Bar Association, I have been committed to promoting openness about mental health in professional settings and am delighted to be sharing my story and the OBA's work as part of the Wellth Management 'Mental Health at Work Challenge®.' I believe that by engaging in dialogue and sharing our stories and resources, we can help workplaces become more helpful, supportive environments for today's professionals."

"The response to the tour has been overwhelmingly positive and I hope that we've inspired people to bring the conversation into their workplaces," says Rhiannon Traill, President and CEO, The Economic Club of Canada. "In addition to gaining a better understanding of the economic and societal implications behind mental health issues, I've learned that this once 'taboo' issue is one that so many Canadians are ready to talk about."

Four tips for employers offered up by the Wellth Management panelists:

Small gestures go a long way. Be sure to support and encourage your employees on a daily basis. Congratulate them on their successes and let them know that you appreciate all they do for the team.

Set the tone. Foster a culture at work that is safe, inclusive and supportive. Encourage employees to support one another avoid making judgements of those who are different. Give mental health the same priority as physical health.

Cultivate real connections. Work to create strong, meaningful relationships with your employees. While boundaries are essential, so is making each person feel that they are individuals and not just a "cog in the wheel."

Educate. Discuss health insurance opportunities and supports that are available to your employees. Many employees are simply unaware of the supports or treatments that are offered. Be sure to communicate the benefits and encourage your employees to take full advantage of the insurance plan.

As the series partners made their way across Canada, they rewarded executives and their employees for taking action immediately to implement mental health at work standards by participating in the ongoing Wellth Management Mental Health at Work® Challenge.

"Over and above wanting to start a meaningful conversation, we knew we had to provide management and human resource professionals with tools to actually achieve change," says Patrick Cashman, President and General Manager, Lundbeck Canada. "We've worked with our partners to develop a program that helps companies take real strides to implement the National Standard."

Cookson James Loyalty's BestLifeRewarded® platform gives businesses a step-by-step introduction to implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). Leaders engage the support of employees in reaching milestones for the program with incentives. By engaging in education modules and health tracking tools, employees can "top up" points as well. The learning modules that enable the mental health at work standards are provided by program partner Excellence Canada.

About The Economic Club of Canada: Since 2003, the Economic Club of Canada (EC) has earned a prestigious reputation as this country's podium of record. Uniquely positioned as the only national non-partisan organization capable of staging events across the country, our mission is to bring our members and guests face-to-face with the most influential leaders of our time. Each year more than 100 policy makers and business leaders select The EC to make keynote addresses allowing the opportunity for guests to post questions, direct and unfiltered. Membership is open to all who share a passion for great issues of the day. For more information, or to become a member visit:

About Lundbeck Canada:

Every minute of every day, the billions of cells in our brains send and receive signals that influence everything, from the memories we form to the emotions we feel. By studying the brain, Lundbeck hopes to better understand the underlying mechanisms of brain disease. The human brain is fascinating and at Lundbeck our fascination started almost a century ago. As one of the only pharmaceutical companies in the world solely dedicated and entirely focused on treatments for brain disease, we have developed and marketed leading medicines for alcohol dependence, depression, anxiety, psychosis, epilepsy, Huntington's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Over the years, millions of people have been treated with our therapies and while it is complex and challenging to develop improved treatments for brain disease, we will maintain our focus. In this same year that we are celebrating our 100 year anniversary globally we are also celebrating 20 years in Canada where we have always been dedicated to mental illnesses and are now emerging as a provider of healthcare solutions in oncology. We are dedicated to making improvements in these areas and this belief drives us to constantly challenge the status quo because people living with brain diseases and cancer deserve better.

About Mental Health International: is a Canadian-based not for profit organization and successor to the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health. Serving as an independent body to help unify efforts and coordinate the service requirements for organizations seeking assistance with their mental health strategies and application tools. For more information visit:

About Excellence Canada: is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to help public and private companies improve organizational performance and recognize excellence within Canadian companies and non-profits. Excellence Canada is the custodian of the Canada Awards for Excellence program that was established by Industry Canada in 1984 to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements of Canada's best-run organizations. Included in Excellence Canada Intellectual Property are the Mental Health at Work®, Healthy Workplace®, and Excellence, Innovation and Wellness programs and Standards. For more information visit:

About BestLifeRewarded®: Cookson James Loyalty Inc. founded the BestLifeRewarded® wellness incentive platform in 2010 to serve as the catalyst in a coordinated assault to change the face of healthcare in Canada. An evidence-based health behaviour change system with over 90 educational modules, 25+ health tracking tools, pledging systems and reminder tools developed in collaboration with Canada's leading non-profits. For more information visit or email

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