Mental Health Resource Guide


Part I: Labour Relations

i. Representation

  • Your Employment Relations Officer (ERO)
  • Dos and Don’ts for Stewards

ii. Mental Health and Human Rights

  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • File a Complaint
  • Provincial Human Rights Tribunal

Part II: Mental Health: Identifying the Signs and Getting Help

  • Identify the Signs
  • How Can You Help a Co-Worker Exhibiting Signs of Mental Illness or Suffering from a Mental Illness?    
  • How Can You Help Yourself If You are Suffering from a Mental Illness?    

Part III: Mental Health Training

  • Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)
  • The Joint Learning Program (JLP)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)&

Part IV: Mental Fitness

  • Ways to Practice Mental Fitness
  • Benefits of Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

Part V: Services

  • Health Canada: Employment Assistance Services/Employee Assistance Program    
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)    
  • Occupational Health Clinics (OHC)    
  • 211 Canada: The Source Canadians Trust Federal Employers    
  • Departments under Treasury Board    
  • Provincial Employers    

Part VI: Self-Help Contacts

  • E-Mental Health
  • Job Stress and Anxiety    
  • Suicide Prevention    

Part VII: Additional Resources

  • Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)    
  • Mental Health Passport    
  • Health Canada, Healthy Living    
  • Health Canada, Healthy Canadians    
  • Public Health Agency of Canada    
  • Occupational Health and Safety Contacts: Provinces and Territories   

Your Resource Guide to Mental Health

“[Our vision is] to create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace” – JTF on Mental Health in the Workplace

The Joint Task Force on Mental Health in the Workplace is a collaborative Employer-Union initiative. PIPSC is a member of the task force and plays an essential role in addressing mental health issues in the federal public service and in improving the well- being of its members and all public servants.

Part I: Labour Relations

The Institute’s Regional Labour Relations Services provide representational services for members across Canada, including matters pertaining to Mental Health. These services include, but are not limited to, contraventions of the collective agreement via the grievance process, duty to accommodate, and human rights complaints. You may choose to contact your Employment Relations Officer (ERO) in addition to seeking the assistance of federal or provincial services, occupational health and safety representatives, or the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

i. Representation

Your Employment Relations Officer (ERO)

Should you require representational assistance, please locate your Regional Office and/or Employment Relations Officer (ERO).

PIPSC Website (

Select contact us at the top of the page, then select staff listing from the menu on the right of the page, then find your region under Regional Labour Relations.

Contact Us

By Phone: 1-800-267-0446: PIPSC receptionist will redirect calls to appropriate office/staff. By Email: Online: Click "Ask Us"

N.B.: Please provide your full name, membership number, bargaining group and department.

Dos and Don’ts for Stewards

Steward Dos
  • Practice E.A.R: Empathy, Attentiveness and Respect; keeping an open mind and exercising active listening will facilitate communication.
  • Establish the safety parameters of the employee and the workplace: Are they a threat to themselves or others? Is the workplace safe for the member?
  • Imminent threat to self or others is to be reported to 9-1-1 immediately (mental health crises, physical violence, criminal offenses).
  • Consult your appointed Employment Relations Officer (ERO) and keep them informed (i.e., development of case, escalation of care, severity of matter).
  • Familiarize yourself with services, National and Provincial programs, support networks, help lines. See Resource Sheet.
  • Persevere. Mental Health Matters are sensitive by nature and can be emotionally charged. Seek help from your union network.
  • Advocate for mental health awareness in the workplace and harassment-free environment.
  • Provide the member with all options for recourse and available assistance.
  • Enforce your Duty to Fair Representation (DFR).
  • Protect time lines.
  • Refer to the Steward Guide for steward roles.
  • Record interactions with all involved: employer, member, witnesses.
  • Safeguard documentation: emails, journals, notes.
  • In instances where you feel uncomfortable or unequipped to undertake mental health related cases, ensure you have referred your member to another union representative.

Know When to Ask for Assistance:

  • Benefit from the PIPSC Steward Network (e.g., Chief Stewards, Group Executives, Consultation Teams).
  • Contact your Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Representative.
Steward Don’ts
  • Do not act in the role of a Mental Health Professional and/or Counsellor.
  • Do not diagnose a member’s psychological state.
  • Do not breach confidentiality (unless an imminent threat is established).
  • Do not impose recourses or unsolicited advice/solutions onto the member.
  • Do not underestimate the seriousness of Mental Health issues and cases pertaining to Mental Health in the workplace.
  • Do not use inflammatory or loaded language: it may escalate the issue.
  • Do not act in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.
  • Do not ignore and/or avoid members. Every matter must be addressed even if it entails referring the member(s) to a more appropriate representative.
  • Do not withdraw representation unless sanctioned by PIPSC authority or requested by the member or aggrieved person.

ii. Mental Health and Human Rights

Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights approach to Mental Health and Equality: You can turn to the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect yourself against harassment and/or discrimination when based on one or more of the 11 prohibited grounds of discrimination (disability, gender, race, etc.).

File a Complaint

By phone: 1-888-214-1090
File online:
Contact your PIPSC Employment  Relations Officer: 1-800-267-0446

Provincial Human Rights Tribunal

The Human Rights Code protects you from discrimination with respect to being fired, denied a job or a promotion because of a mental health disability or addiction. You are also protected from harassment in your employment. Contact your union representative or OHS representative (page 8) for provincial specifications and contacts.

Part II: Mental Health: Identifying the Signs and Getting Help

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, on average, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime. Mental health problems and illness are the number one cause of disability in Canada. Psychological illness impacts the greatest number of people in the middle of their working years, which lowers the productivity of the labour force.

Some of these mental health issues arise from the workplace, through:

  • Job stress
  • Technological concerns
  • Workload or Work-Life Balance
  • Violence (such as bullying and harassment)

Statistics Canada studies have indicated that 47% of working Canadians consider their work the most stressful part of their day and life. Odds are you may come across co-workers suffering from mental health and/or demonstrating symptoms of mental illness. Here are tips to guide you.

Identify the Signs

Identifying these signs is not conclusive and must be determined by a certified mental health professional:

  • Withdrawal
  • Drop in productivity
  • Problems with concentration and thinking
  • Heightened sensitivity to stimuli (lights, smells, sounds, etc.)
  • Apathy for workplace, coworkers
  • Illusions/suspicions of intentional exclusion, targeting or paranoia
  • Anxiety, nervousness
  • Uncharacteristic or unusual behaviour
  • Sleep and appetite shifts; decline in personal hygiene
  • Dramatic and sudden mood changes; polarity in emotions

How Can You Help a Co-Worker Exhibiting Signs of Mental Illness or Suffering from a Mental Illness?

  • Ask them how you can help them
  • Practice E.A.R.: Empathy, Attentiveness and Respect
  • Keep an open mind and exercise active listening
  • Refrain from judgment: they need you as a confidant for support not as a judge
  • Encourage them to seek professional help or professional assessment
  • Continue to include them in activities and outings
  • Make them feel welcome upon their return to work (if they have taken leave)

How Can You Help Yourself If You are Suffering from a Mental Illness?

  • Inform yourself of the services available to you (with this resource):
    • Locate your Occupational Health and Safety Professional
    • Contact the Employee Assistance Program
    • Locate your Steward: Determine which accommodations/recourses are available (if applicable)
  • Confide in a friend, family member, trusted co-worker or support organization
  • Remain hopeful and reach out; there is a broad network of professionals and support groups who can help you
  • Remember that you are not alone; many have felt or feel the way you do

Part III: Mental Health Training

Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

The MHCC holds regular webinars in many different areas of mental health. Visit the webinar archives to download the webinar materials and view the webinar presentation video:

The Joint Learning Program (JLP)

The JLP provides a unique opportunity for unionized public service employees and their managers in the Core Public Administration to come together to build a healthier, more productive workplace.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

Mental Health Works (MHW) is a national social enterprise of the CMHA. They provide workshops, presentations and webinars that are person-centred, evidence-based, and solution-focused.

Part IV: Mental Fitness

Consistently dedicating some time towards your mental fitness will reap significant benefits, including boosts of energy, increased positive thinking, rejuvenation, confidence, decreased stress levels, optimizing cognitive capacity (e.g., critical thinking and problem-solving), improving physical well-being and increasing motivation.

Ways to Practice Mental Fitness

  • Find hobbies you enjoy
  • Set personal goals
  • Volunteer for a cause that you care about
  • Exercise
  • Tackle one task at a time – avoid being overwhelmed
  • Keep a journal
  • Share humour with colleagues and friends
  • Collect positive moments: it will help you to think optimistically
  • Cope with negative thoughts: don’t repress them; try to reframe them and comfort yourself or seek comfort. Disempowered negative feelings are less impactful.
  • Treat yourself well. You deserve it!

Benefits of Psychologically Healthy Workplaces


  • creativity
  • employee co-operation
  • employee engagement
  • employee retention
  • loyalty to the organization
  • morale/employee satisfaction
  • productivity
  • recruitment


  • absenteeism
  • employee turnover
  • grievances
  • health costs
  • medical leave/disability
  • workplace injuries and accidents
  • work time lost

Part V: Services

Health Canada: Employment Assistance Services/Employee Assistance Program

Employment Assistance Services (EAS) is the largest national Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider to Canada’s federal public service. It offers services that are:

  • Highly confidential; available 24/7; bilingual; professional (calls are answered by counsellors possessing a minimum of a master’s degree in counselling, social work or psychology)
  • Crisis counselling is also available (e.g., crisis and suicide prevention/intervention)

1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 (for persons with a hearing impairment)

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

CCOHS is Canada’s national resource for the advancement of workplace health and safety. Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) encompasses the promotion and maintenance of the physical, mental and social well-being of workers. Questions? Locate your OH&S Representative: SAFETY INFOLINE 1-800-668-4284

Occupational Health Clinics (OHC)

Occupational Health Clinics are dedicated to the identification and prevention of work-related illnesses and injuries.

To locate an OHC in your region, you may:

Contact your provincial occupational health and safety services or visit their website (see contact information on pages 8 and 9 of this guide).

Contact Calian Group Limited, a Canadian company specializing in occupational health and wellness nationwide: 1-877-225-4264

211 Canada: The Source Canadians Trust

211 is Canada’s primary source of information on government, community, social and non-clinical health services in over one hundred languages. The service guarantees confidentiality, is professional, free and available 24/7 throughout the year.

To best assist you, contact an information specialist and dial: 2-1-1.

Accessibility: 211 Canada is available in most provinces, to determine if your region is serviced please visit,

Federal Employers

Federal employers abide by the Canada Labour Code (Part II) and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. OH&S and Mental Health:  Fact sheets

Departments under Treasury Board

Departments under Treasury Board abide by the Canada Labour Code (Part II) and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. In addition, Treasury Board has created supplementary policies and directives via the Public Service Occupational Health Program

Provincial Employers

Provincial employers abide by their respective provincial or territorial occupational health and safety legislation. Most provincial OH&S regulations have been expanded to include harm to psychological well-being in the definition of harassment (for those who do not explicitly address it, the “general duty” clause would apply). See Provincial OH&S contacts on page 8.

Part VI: Self-Help Contacts

E-Mental Health

Mental health services, therapist/counsellor contacts, help and support in your community.

Job Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada

For assistance or to locate your nearest crisis centre: 1-800-64-PANIC

Suicide Prevention

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP): Hope. Help. Healing.

CASP provides information and resources to reduce the suicide rate and minimize harmful consequences of suicidal behaviour. They also provide contact information for Crisis Centres throughout Canada:

If your life is in danger or you know someone’s life is in danger DIAL 9-1-1 now.

The LifeLine Canada Foundation: Hope. Love. Support. The Foundation provides a wealth of information, awareness education, and prevention strategies to guide people in crisis. The app and website offer immediate access to guidance and support for those suffering in crisis and those who have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one from suicide. Download the app and find more information

Part VII: Additional Resources

Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

Guarding Minds @ Work  (GM@W) is a unique, free and comprehensive set of resources designed to protect and promote psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Download: Together Against Stigma: Changing How We See Mental Illness (pdf)
GM@W: 1-800-668-4284

MHCC launched the “National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace”. The Standard provides a framework for:

  • Assessing psychological risks in the workplace
  • Preventing risks or lessening their impact
  • Improving psychological health and safety outcomes
  • Monitoring the results.

Mental Health Passport

The Mental Health Passport was conceived, written and produced by Statistics Canada’s Mental Health Working Group. The passport offers tools to help you identify and reflect on areas you may want to improve in your life. Developing positive mental health habits that work for you will stand you in good stead.

Health Canada, Healthy Living

This resource page will provide you with information to help you make informed choices about your health in areas such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, pregnancy, and reproductive health

Health Canada, Healthy Canadians

Reliable, easy-to-understand health and safety information for Canadians and health professionals

Questions? 1-866-225-0709 or

Public Health Agency of Canada

Resource Centre

Occupational Health and Safety Contacts: Provinces and Territories







Alberta Human Services
Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board

OHS Act, Regulations & Code

British Columbia

1-888-967- 5377

WorkSafe BC

Employment Standards OHS Regulation, WCA



Safe Work Manitoba

Workers’ Compensation Board of Manitoba

OHS Act and Regulations

New Brunswick



OHS Regulations

Newfoundland and Labrador


NL Occupational Health and Safety Division 


OHS Act; WorkplaceNL

Nova Scotia


NS Occupational Health and Safety Division

Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia


Northwest Territories



Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Safety Codes and OHS Regulations



Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut


Safety Codes and OHS Regulations




Ontario Ministry of Labour

Ontario Workers’ Safety and Insurance Board

Employment Standards Act / WSIA 

Prince Edward



Workers’ Compensation Board of P.E.I.

OHS Act and Regulations



Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)

Normes et régulations QC


Developed by PIPSC Education Section in collaboration with: Training and Education Committee