This week, we’re attending the 28th convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in Toronto. The CLC is an umbrella group for Canada’s unions, and their affiliates represent over 3.3 million workers.
We’ll be putting forward a resolution on an issue we’ve been championing for years – mental health in the workplace. Resolutions are essentially a formal call to action or statement of opinion.
One in five Canadians experience a mental illness in their lifetime. But while the issue is surprisingly common, it also comes with a massive stigma.
According to a 2008 survey, 42% of Canadians aren’t sure they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness. Moreover, 46% think people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour.
That means people hesitate to ask for help, making the problem even worse.
Today, three out of every four short-term disability claims stem from mental health problems. This week, 500,000 workers will miss work because of a mental health issue. This year, 51 billion dollars will be lost due to mental illness.
The human consequences are also well documented. In 2015, we launched a social media campaign to highlight the struggles of young workers facing mental health issues. You can watch their stories at MakeItMandatory.ca
We need to do a better job at addressing these issues. That’s why our resolution calls for more mental health support and awareness in the workplace.
You can read our full resolution here:
RESOLUTION No. GEN-120
WHEREAS one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime which may affect significantly every aspect of this person’s life, including the workplace; and
WHEREAS even in some workplaces that support mental health, there is still stigma associated with opening up about mental illness; and
WHEREAS the cost of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion per year, including absenteeism, medication and healthcare; and
WHEREAS now is the time to speak up, make noise and affect positive changes to bring support for mental health in all workplaces;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and its affiliates will make mental health awareness and support in the workplace a priority;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CLC and its affiliates will lobby governments to make mental health awareness and support mandatory in workplaces.