Lighting the way for better workplaces

FEBRUARY 27, 2015

Canadian Mental Health Association recognizes NAV CANADA for innovative workplace mental health program

Vancouver, British Columbia – The organization responsible for Canada’s civil air navigation has received an award for advancing mental health in its workplace through a pioneering peer support program.

The award to NAV CANADA was a highlight of the 12th annual Bottom Line Conference on Workplace Mental Health, held by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on February 24-25 in Vancouver.

“We were extremely impressed with the many workplace mental health initiatives that NAV CANADA provides to improve the psychological health and safety of its employees,” said Peter Coleridge, National CEO of CMHA. “One program that is particularly noteworthy is the company’s pioneering work around mental health peer support, which sees significant involvement by employees.”

CMHA has been working to change the face of mental health and mental illness in workplaces for well over a decade.

The award to NAV CANADA was a highlight of the 12th annual Bottom Line Conference on Workplace Mental Health, held by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on February 24-25 in Vancouver.

Richard Dixon, Vice President and Human Resources Officer of NAV CANADA, is presented the C.M. Hincks award by Peter Coleridge, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association at the 12th annual Bottom Line Conference, Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“We were extremely impressed with the many workplace mental health initiatives that NAV CANADA provides to improve the psychological health and safety of its employees,” said Peter Coleridge, National CEO of CMHA. “One program that is particularly noteworthy is the company’s pioneering work around mental health peer support, which sees significant involvement by employees.”

CMHA has been working to change the face of mental health and mental illness in workplaces for well over a decade. CMHA’s C.M. Hincks award is presented annually at the Bottom Line Conference to an outstanding organization or individual that has advanced mental health through its work/volunteer activities in the area of reducing stigma and discrimination, addressing social justice and the social determinants of health, and maintaining and/or improving mental health for all.

The award recognizes NAV CANADA for its wide range of programs, activities and incentives to support employee health and well-being, including an innovative mental health peer support program called “Light the Way.” Introduced in 2012, the program screens and trains peer support volunteers who have lived through a mental health challenge of their own, to provide confidential support to fellow employees who are experiencing similar issues. Peer supporters include managers and employees, together fostering an accepting workplace culture that openly acknowledges the reality of mental health conditions.

The tremendous impact peer support programs like these can have on workplace culture and performance was highlighted by conference speaker Stéphane Grenier, Founder of Mental Health Innovations Consulting.

“Workplace mental health peer support initiatives like NAV CANADA’s ‘Light the Way’ program has the power to save lives,” says Grenier. “Peer support saved my life. For me, it was something I stumbled upon – but we can’t keep leaving such a critical support system to chance.”

In accepting the Hincks Award, Richard Dixon, NAV CANADA Vice President and Human Resources Officer, said, “I accept this award on behalf of our over 50 peers who had the courage to share their lived experience with a mental health challenge.”

“What we need are compassionate, caring workplaces where people can be free to say, ‘I need to talk,’ and know that there is someone non-judgmental who is ready and willing to listen. Tremendous hope comes from simple words like, ‘You can get through this. I did.’”

Since the mental health peer support program was introduced, the Company has seen declines in short-term and long-term disability associated with mental health absences.

The Bottom Line Conference is part of CMHA’s newly formed Workforce Mental Health Collaborative. The Collaborative provides training, information resources, and consultation services to support employers, unions and employees with improving employee mental health, preventing mental illness and addiction, and providing the necessary tools and supports for employees with mental health and addiction challenges.

About NAV Canada

NAV CANADA is the country’s private sector civil air navigation services provider. With operations from coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

Founded in 1918, CMHA is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA helps people access the community resources they need to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness.

For more information and interviews:
Jennifer Quan, Marketing and Communications Manager
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division
604-688-3234 or jennifer.quan@cmha.bc.ca

Carolyn Lovas, Senior Communcations and Media Advisor
Canadian Mental Health Association, National
clovas@cmha.ca

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