Ontario invests in worker mental health

$1.7 million investment will benefit mining and forestry workers in Northern Ontario

Ontario invests in worker mental health

Ontario is looking to provide more mental health supports for mining and forestry workers in Northern Ontario.

The government is investing $1.7 million to support Workplace Safety North (WSN) in developing and delivering mental health training and resources for these workers.

“Our miners and forestry workers operate in challenging environments day-in and day-out to deliver materials that communities across Ontario rely on,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “While these jobs provide rewarding, meaningful careers, we need to acknowledge the mental toll they can take. That is why our government has invested in a comprehensive mental health program with a full suite of supports. Every worker, no matter the profession, needs to know that help is always a phone call away.”

Last year, workplace mental health resources were in the top ten health and safety resources accessed on workplacesafetynorth.ca, according to the government.

With the funding, Workplace Safety North has developed a three-year program that will deliver in-person and online training for mining and forestry operations and improve mental health outcomes for workers in the industry.

Workers and employers will also have 24/7 support, including an online portal with mental health tools and free resources and awareness sessions for small businesses.

Research shows mining and forestry workers are at higher risk of experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression, according to the government.

“Based on the effects of the pandemic on mental health in the workplace and at home, workplace mental health needs to be at the forefront of Ontario workplace safety,” said Paul Andre, President and CEO of Workplace Safety North (WSN). “That is why WSN has a team of accredited Psychological Health and Safety Advisors available to consult with clients and help create psychologically safe and healthy workplaces. This funding will help us expand critical resources and support to workers who need it most.”

In November 2021, the federal and Ontario governments jointly invested more than $7 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to launch two, new multi-year mental health initiatives that are specialized to protect the mental health of farmers and their families.

Previously, Ontario invested $8 million to bolster WSN’s Ontario Mine Rescue program, which coordinated the successful rescue of all 39 miners stuck underground in Sudbury in past September.

Since 2012, Ontario has provided Workplace Safety North with over $116 million in funding to support their programs and services.

There are currently 23,900 full-time workers in the Ontario mining sector and 57,400 full-time workers in the Ontario forestry, paper and printing sector.

In April 2021, Ontario also announced it is investing $12.5 million over three years to strengthen the mental health services available to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and their families.