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Toronto, Jan. 16, 2013—Earlier today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce participated in the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s launch of the National Standard of Canada: Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

“Our main focus is Canada’s competitiveness. When we talk about competitiveness we often talk about productivity, innovation and skills. As a matter of fact the issue of skills has been our priority area for the last year. However, when we talk about Skills and Human Resources we don’t often talk about the importance of a psychologically healthy work place. We take it for granted. This is a mistake. A mistake that too many businesses tend to make,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Adults spend more waking hours in the workplace than anywhere else. We all agree that healthy work lives play an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. The health or harm created in workplaces spills over into the well being of families, communities and society at large. If unaddressed, the impact of mental health problems on lost productivity (due to absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover) will cost Canadian businesses $198B over the next 30 years. This is a cost that our members can avoid.

“The National Standard launched today is long overdue,” added Beatty. “Creating a systematic and sustainable approach for psychological health and safety, similar in spirit to how physical health and safety is managed, is becoming a business imperative”.

The business case is clear: A work environment that promotes good mental health is socially responsible, cost effective, and helps attract and keep good employees. It is also an important risk management strategy as employers are increasingly held legally responsible for maintaining psychological health and safety in the workplace and increasingly subject to civil suits for employee harassment, bullying or chronic overwork.

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing some 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

Émilie S. Potvin
Director, Public Affairs & Media Relations
Office: 613.238.4000 (231)
Cell.: 613.797.1860