PSAC is in favour of all measures that support the mental health of our members and recognize the particular impact that racial trauma and discrimination have on Black, Indigenous, and other racialized workers. However, the 2022 budget sets aside a mere $3.7 million over four years to develop a mental health fund for Black federal public service workers which does not go far enough.
PSAC firmly supports the Black Class Action lawsuit that has publicly called for the government to implement a $100-million mental health fund. Black public service workers have experienced decades of employee exclusion and discriminatory hiring practices. Immediate access to trauma-informed and culturally sensitive mental health services is vital to addressing these injuries.
Four years is far too long for members to wait. Similar programs are already in place and the framework exists. Black federal public service workers need access right now to mental health supports equipped to treat racial trauma cases, which already exist, but the government is acting like they have to reinvent the wheel.
PSAC is open to working with all parties involved and expects to be meaningfully consulted in the development and implementation of a Black mental health program like existing programs available to other equity-seeking groups in the public service.
We also encourage the government to follow through on PSAC's other bargaining proposals to build a more diverse and inclusive public service, including mandatory training on anti-oppression, systemic racism and the history of Indigenous Peoples for all federal public service workers, including managers. PSAC has also called for five additional days of mental health leave in members' collective agreements.