The Public Service Alliance of Canada is seeking significant improvements to the mental health provisions in their collective agreements as well as improved child care options for public service workers.
The union tabled these proposals during negotiations with Treasury Board on Tuesday January 13.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, approximately 1 in 5 Canadians, or seven million citizens, will experience a mental health problem this year. Many of these problems relate in some way to the workplace.
“PSAC recognizes the importance of positive workplace psychological health and safety. We see it as contributing to the overall wellness and productivity of the federal public service. It is worth noting that the objective of our proposals is to implement the recommendations contained in the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President.
Addressing harm: mental health
The union proposal highlights the need for union and management to work together to identify what may be psychologically harmful in the workplace, and implement practices that support and promote good mental health.
PSAC’s proposal also addresses the changes made by C-4 legislation that removed or weakened significant sections of the Canada Labour Code, including the definition of danger, the right to refuse dangerous work, and the right to investigations and inspections.
Child care needed
PSAC is calling on the government to provide better support for its employees with young children. Affordable and accessible child care remains a pressing concern for many working families.
Our child care demand proposes the development of solutions to workplace child care, such as reversing the policy shift towards charging rent to child care centres in federal government buildings, as well as identifying other accessible community options and making these solutions available to workers.
“We are responding to members’ needs and addressing the growing shortage of quality, regulated and accessible child care spaces across the country. We know that this remains a pressing priority for many working families,” concluded Benson.
Recent changes to Treasury Board child care policy have resulted in the closure of at least one longstanding and popular workplace child care centre. Closures increase the shortage of quality child care spaces and complicate employee management of their work and family responsibilities.