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WSIB empowers leaders to improve workplace wellbeing with mental health training

Published by: TELUS Health,


The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) employs approximately 4,500 people across Ontario. Many of their employees, especially those in front-line positions, experience stressors not found in other organizations. To better support both the physical and psychological health of its people, the WSIB needed updated, more tailored, mental health and wellness programs and services.


In 2016, the WSIB became the first compensation board in Canada to launch a multi-year strategy based on the unique mental health risks faced by its employees. This strategy is built around the 13 workplace factors outlined in the National Standard for Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The strategy focuses on:

  • prevention and promotion
  • education and skill
  • support and resources

Today, the WSIB offers a wide range of mental health benefits and programs to staff, including:

  • 12 annual wellness days
  • psychological counselling up to $3000 annually
  • Respect@Work , self-care and resiliency training
  • a province-wide peer support program with more than 50 trained peers
  • LifeWorks, a comprehensive employee and family assistance program

Perhaps the most innovative part of the WSIB’s mental health strategy is the role played by their people leaders. This begins with the Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ Certificate Program.

The Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ Certificate Program

“I came out of the training knowing how to support my team and myself when it comes to mental health. The discussion was so interesting that everyone stayed on track. Probably the best program I’ve been part of.”

This program is the first of its kind in Canada, developed by Morneau Shepell, in partnership with the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair and Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University.  The three module program:

  • instills leader accountability for a safe and healthy workplace.
  • provides an understanding of the relevant legal, ethical, and business concerns surrounding mental health in the workplace
  • shows participants how to recognize factors that affect a mentally healthy workplace.
  • develops empathetic and solution-focused leadership skills.

Since the WSIB launched the program as part of its mental health and learning strategy in 2018, all of its people leaders have received this training.

 “The material is very comprehensive and the instructor made it interactive and interesting. Really valuable and relevant training with applicable content and scenarios.”


The WSIB’s refreshed mental health strategy has successfully engaged employees at all levels and improved overall mental health. Including Morneau Shepell’s Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ course as part of their mental health strategy helped the WSIB achieve:

  • high enrolments in the Mental Health Prevention and Accommodation Program, a refresher to the Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ Certificate Program
  • EFAP utilization increase from 20.66 percent in 2016 to 26.40 percent by 2018
  • more interactions in the newly created Peer Support Program ̶  from 46 in 2018 to 76 a year later
  • silver certification for Mental Health at Work by Excellence Canada in 2018 and gold certification in 2019
  • Excellence Canada’s 2019 Order of Excellence certification for Healthy Workplace

Employee and management mental health training can be the most effective way of increasing workplace wellbeing. By making the Workplace Mental Health Leadership™ Certificate Program a mandatory part of their leadership training and a central plank of their mental health strategy, the WSIB realized improved mental health and wellbeing in their workplace and demonstrated why they are a workplace mental health leader. To learn more about how you can achieve similar success with workplace mental health training, connect with a member of our Workplace Learning Solutions team today.

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