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- Work Stress Workshop to Outline Legal Obligations Faced by Organizations to Provide ‘Psychologically Safe’ Workplaces -

(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – An expert in psychological health and safety in the workplace is coming to Cobourg this month to explain the legal obligations that workplaces face to protect and promote mental health at work.

Dr. Martin Shain will be keynote speaker at a ‘Work Stress and the Law Workshop’ taking place on Tuesday, November 26, from 8:30 am to 1 pm at the Cobourg Lions Centre (157 Elgin St. E.). The workshop, geared to local businesses and workplaces, is organized by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Cost for the workshop is $70 per person, which includes resources, breakfast and refreshments. For details or to sign up for the event, call the Health Unit at (905) 885-9100, ext. 1256, toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1256 or click here. Deadline to register is November 20.

“Dr. Shain is an expert in psychological health and safety in the workplace, who is well-known across Canada,” says event organizer Lisa van der Vinne, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “We are very pleased that he can share his insight with local workplaces on an important issue that can be costly for businesses.”

Dr. Shain is a published author, researcher and recognized expert on workplace psychological health and safety. He has also done extensive work to help employers and unions understand their new legal obligations to help create a psychologically safe workplace. “Put another way, psychologically safe workplaces create a supportive work environment that protects and promotes mental health,” says van der Vinne.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, it is estimated that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem. The economic costs of mental health problems in Canada are pegged at approximately $50-billion per year.

To help combat the high costs of mental health problems at work, the federal government, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Standards Association and Quebec’s standards development body (BNQ) released the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace in January 2013. The Standard is voluntary, and provides tools and resources to help workplaces promote and improve their approach to mental well-being among workers.

Dr. Shain, who also helped in the development of the National Standard, calls it an important document for putting mental health on the same footing as protection of physical health in the workplace. However, the Standard has created questions and concerns among employers, managers and other workplace leaders about an organization’s legal duty to protect and promote mental health at work.

These misunderstandings and fears are what Dr. Shain wants to address at the Nov. 26 workshop in Cobourg. “I think the best thing to do with the fears that still exist about the Standard is to look them in the face, so join me as I examine exactly what the Standard does require from a legal perspective, including recent cases and legislative developments,” Dr. Shain says.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Lisa van der Vinne, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 1256.

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