Years of doing more with less, coupled with the Harper government’s disregard for its own workforce, have taken their toll on the federal public service. The impact of stress and strain has impacted alarmingly large numbers of our co-workers.
So it came as excellent news that our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, has won Treasury Board’s commitment to establish a joint task force on mental health. Both sides agreed on the makeup, responsibilities and timelines for the task force.
All PSAC members who are employed by Treasury Board will be covered by the agreement.
The PSAC had formally tabled the proposal last January as part of negotiations for new collective agreements for the classification groups it represents. A Memorandum of Understanding was reached during March 24-26 contract talks.
The task force, made up of an equal number of union and employer representatives, will have a long-term focus on continuous improvement and the successful implementation of measures to improve mental health in the workplace. Specifically, it will be charged with identifying ways to reduce and eliminate the stigma associated with mental health issues, improving communication on mental health challenges in the workplace and implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
The PSAC had rightly made “healthy workplaces” a major theme of this round of bargaining. This tangible sign of real progress is very welcome indeed!