Is Your Mental Health Affecting Your Ability to Work in Ontario?
  • Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Is Your Mental Health Affecting Your Ability to Work in Ontario?

Like most Canadian adults, you probably spend more of your day at work than anywhere else. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the workplace plays a significant role in maintaining positive mental health. 

However, while being productive at work contributes to your wellbeing, job demands can also be a source of stress. In fact, the workplace is one of the factors that can cause mental health issues. 

Moreover, poor mental health also affects work performance. In Canada, at least 500,000 people miss work every week because of mental illness. Not only does mental health affect one’s work-life, but it also impacts their personal and economic interests as well. 

Are you struggling to go to work at times? Do you call in sick because you’re not mentally or emotionally okay? Stigma and discrimination may keep you from disclosing what you’re going through, but you’re not alone. 

By now, you’ve probably understood that there is a strong relationship between mental health and work. Below we will discuss how your state of wellbeing can influence your ability to work and what can be done to improve it. 

The Importance of Mental Health at Work

Mental health comprises one’s emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing and it influences the way you think, feel, and act. Moreover, it is just as important as physical health, since it helps you cope with stressors, form good relations and work productively. 

However, stress, lack of sleep and other factors can negatively affect mental health and it impacts everyone differently. While some may quickly bounce back, others may feel weighed down for  longer periods of time.  

Mental health problems can disrupt daily routines, including job performance. It can influence one’s ability to make good decisions, concentrate on tasks, and stay productive.

Approximately 21% percent of the working population experience mental health conditions in Canada, which affects their productivity. Not only does it take a toll on one’s quality of life, but it also accounts for the astonishing economic costs in Canada.

Around 30% of short-and long-term disability claims are associated with mental health problems and 80% of Canadian employers say it’s one of the top three drivers of such claims. 

These numbers demonstrate just how important mental health is for work. The problem, however, is that only 23% of Canadians feel comfortable speaking to their employers about mental health concerns.

Workplace Rights and Responsibilities for Mental Health and Productivity  

A strong level of stigma surrounds mental health issues, but the City of Toronto acknowledges the value of psychological health and safety in the workplace. It recognizes that work can be a source of wellbeing or the cause of stress that leads to one’s poor mental health. 

In 2013, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. It serves as a guide for organizations to promote mental health and prevent psychological harm at work. Moreover, it also tries to address the soaring legal, social and economic costs of mental illness in the workplace. 

Business leaders and other employers should prioritize implementing such standards to protect and support employees. 

Canadian employers have certain legal obligations, which can contribute to mental health, under the following three frameworks: 

  • Employment Standards Legislation: Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) protects the rights of eligible workers under an employment contract. It covers the minimum wage, rest periods, overtime pay and other conditions of employment that employees are entitled to. 
  • Occupational Health and Safety Legislation: Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act protects employees against potential hazards on the job. For example, it includes anti-harassment provisions intended for psychological safety in the workplace. 
  • Human Rights Codes: The Ontario Human Rights Code provides that every person must be treated equally in the workplace and that they can’t be discriminated against because of a disability or other grounds. Disability covers a range of conditions, including mental health issues. This means that an employer cannot fire you or refuse to give you a job or a promotion due to a mental health illness. 

Canada has several legislations that focus on the workplace, which support and seek to improve mental health. But, you might need legal assistance to understand your mental health rights better. 

Ways to Improve Mental Health and Productivity in Ontario

Workplace mental health is a topic that every organization should take seriously. Failing to address the negative impacts of work conditions on workers’ mental health can be costly. 

With that in mind, how can Canadian employers create a work environment that helps improve mental health and productivity in Ontario? 

  • Promote Workplace Mental Health Awareness: Employees need a more accepting and open culture. It’s important to normalize mental health conversations to reduce the stigma in the workplace. Educating and training managers about mental health issues is a great way to get started. They can also share their personal mental health experiences. 
  • Invest In Policy Planning and Coverage Resources: Employers should review their existing benefits program and ensure that their insurance policy includes mental health coverage. It’s the perfect way to assist employees struggling with mental health issues. 
  • Provide Access To Various Mental Health Supports: Employees should have access to mental health supports that best suit their needs. Organizations should make it easy for workers to contact mental health professionals. 
  • Foster A Healthy Work/Life Balance Culture: An imbalanced work and family life is a stronger risk factor for mental illness. It can burn out employees and hurt productivity. Employers should encourage workers to take regular vacations and spend time with loved ones. 

 

Types of Mental Health Illnesses  

Mood Disorders

This category of disorders primarily affects one’s emotional state. A person may experience long periods of extreme sadness, happiness, or both. Depression and bipolar disorder are among the most common types of these disorders.

Anxiety Disorders

This category of disorders involves excessive anxiety and fear that is generally disproportionate to the situation. The most common type of anxiety disorder includes phobias and panic disorder. 

Eating Disorders

This disorder category is characterized by severe and persistent extreme emotions, attitudes, and eating behaviours. They can include anorexia nervosa, binge-eating, and bulimia.


Did you experience discrimination at the workplace due to your mental health issue? Know your rights and call Diamond Law now.

Pro Tip

“Getting the services of a skilled and experienced lawyer improves the chances of achieving a favourable result.”

– Diamond Law

Affected Mental Health and Productivity While Working in Ontario? Call Diamond Law 

The excessive workload can affect your ability to be productive and deal with challenges. No matter the reason, it’s always important to address your mental health. If you’re going through a mental health problem and in need of some legal aid, you’ve come to the right place.

Diamond Law has a team of experienced lawyers who can help you with disability claims and other legal support. We will do everything we can to protect your best interests. Contact us today!

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