The Standard For Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace 

A Data Backed Approach Supporting The Importance Of Good Workplace Mental Health

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In This Episode

In this episode, we talk about an area that Canada is leading the way globally in its establishment of The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Sapna Mahajan, a national leader on the topic, joins us to share her insight. Using Bill’s The Chronicle Herald article “Without good workforce mental health, employers have nothing” the group discusses the progressive step forward Canada is taking by creating the standard and how business leaders can start to build it into their culture. 

In facing down the current events of the world, understanding the importance of mental health in a workplace environment is becoming a more and more essential component of ensuring successful business operations. 

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Episode Breakdown

First 10 Minutes
Dave and Bill introduce Bill’s article for this episode and give us an overview of Sapna Mahajan’s background. Sapna explains her background and describes how Canada has created and is leading the way in the standards for occupational health and safety in the workplace. 

10 Minutes – 20 Minutes
The group talks about the impact of bringing in a new standard such as this and how it is helping to make a difference. Sapna shares that a study to monitor the effect of the standard when as it launched and the results show it psychological health concerns is a rising issue in workplaces and that the standard is having an impact. The group discusses who within company is in charge of the implementation and use of the standards and where potential issues in reaching smaller businesses may occur. 

20 Minutes – 30 Minutes 
Dave asks Sapna and Bill to define for the group the differences between mental health and mental illness and what these standards are being put in place to help differentiate those distinctions and how the workplace can support employees during any of those situations. Dave asks both Sapna and Bill what leaders in the workplace can do as practical actions to start using these practices into their workplaces. Sapna shares how, in the future, she sees the future of work is in people being creative and using their minds. Bill agrees and stresses the importance of prioritizing mental health more.

30 Minutes – 40 Minutes 
The group talks about identifying different mental health strategies to help improve your life overall. Bill asks Sapna how to get senior leaders on board for making these changes. Sapna says the most significant impact she sees is when senior leaders understand the data of the positive impact these changes can have. Sapna encourages that this needs to be something that is built into the work culture, starting from the hiring process and moving on. 


Sapna Mahajan

Sapna Mahajan

Director, Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace

Sapna Mahajan recently joined the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer as the Director leading the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace, and supporting the development of the Centre for Wellness, Inclusion and Diversity.  

Sapna joins Treasury Board on a two year interchange from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she was the Director of Programs and Priorities. She joined the Commission in 2009, leading and directly accountable for the Commission’s priorities in the areas of workplace mental health, peer support, post-secondary student mental health, e-mental health and cannabis. She helped lead the development of the first in the world National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, and since then has been working with organizations globally to drive widespread adoption and implementation. She is currently part of the Canadian mirror committee to develop an international Standard based on Canada’s psychological health and safety Standard, and co-chairs the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Workplace Wellness and Resilience Focus Area Work Group.  Prior to joining the Commission, Sapna worked at the Queen’s Center for Health Services and Policy Research. She has also worked with the William J Clinton Foundation and the Centre for International Health and Development.

Sapna holds a Masters in International Public Health – Health Policy and Management from Boston University. She is a Canadian Healthcare Executive and a Project Management Professional. In 2015, she was chosen to participate in the Governor General Canadian Leadership Conference. She is an active community member volunteering with several charities and not for profit organizations, including as a Board member of the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, VoiceFound, Mindful Employer and the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.

Thank you to our partners!

Shifting the Employee Experience is presented in partnership with the University of New Brunswick College of Extended Learning, featuring the online High Impact Corporate Learning Program! Workplace health, safety, wellness and leadership are competencies that significantly impact a workforce. Strength in these areas is crucial for success in a corporate environment. Build capacity of your entire team with specialized courses! UNB Online! Learn more! Visit

Every worker. Healthy and safe. Every day.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is a not-for-profit organization committed to protecting workers and businesses. WSPS serves the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors in Ontario supporting over 167,000 member firms and 4.1 million workers. WSPS offers unparalleled health and safety expertise, consulting, training and resources. Our mandate includes helping businesses understand their risks and legal obligations to stay in compliance and build safer workplaces.