2016 Report on Public Service Renewal Results: respectful workplaces

Respectful workplaces

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is striving towards a workplace that supports respect, inclusion, mental wellness, and civility. Numerous studies have shown how the perception of respect is linked to productivity, efficiency, creativity and both mental and physical health, but to sum it up and keep it simple - it’s the right thing to do. Through a mental health strategy, a virtual tool, and a committee to engage employees and unions, ECCC is seeking to make broad reaching changes to improve mental health in the workplace and support wellness.  In addition, employees, managers, and individual teams are embracing this message of a respectful workplace, and are using new technologies to support respect through inclusion.

Mental Health Strategy

Environment and Climate Change Canada is working on building internal capacity to help implement a departmental Mental Health Strategy, and commit to creating a work environment that is psychologically healthy and safe for everyone.  ECCC launched a comprehensive departmental Mental Health Strategy in April 2016. It provides access to the tools and resources required to promote, maintain and improve mental health, build resilience, as well as support recovery from and living with mental illness. A dedicated team is overseeing the implementation of the strategy and alignment to the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, working in close collaboration with unions. To support awareness of mental health in the workplace, in-person and virtual learning events for employees are taking place throughout the department. A virtual wellness centre provides access to relevant information, tools, and resources for employees and managers. Available on the ECCC Intranet, this page includes: information about mental illness and stigma, links to mental health care and resources to help employees and managers deal with mental health concerns in the workplace and support mental health, and external resources for mental health. 

Respectful Workplace Committee

The Respectful Workplace Committee aims to identify and recommend departmental strategies, policies and activities to strengthen and promote respectful workplace practices to improve workplace quality of life of all ECCC employees. With representation from management and unions, the Respectful Workplace Committee operates across the department to promote a healthy and respectful workplace by hosting events, distributing learning materials, and interacting with staff. 

The second annual Respect Day took place on November 17th, to acknowledge the importance of respect in our workplace by promoting dialogue, awareness and recognition of a respectful workplace through a range of activities for all employees across the country. Employees were engaged in a variety of educational activities and kiosks, contests, quizzes, and armchair discussions about the importance of respect in the workplace. A quick, easy-to-use resource, the Dignity@Work feedback tool, enables supervisors to request anonymous feedback from their reports, peers and colleagues regarding their respectful behavior at work.

Everyday Actions

Small, everyday actions have the potential to create large strides towards the development of a healthy and respectful workplace. Modern technology provides the opportunity to explore creative ways to support professional development, efficient and effective work flow, and generally, a positive and productive “virtual” environment. This includes forming telework arrangements, using new communications technologies to engage with ECCC employees across Canada, and engaging employees across the country for discussions with senior management such as webcasts. 


Aïda Warah: We launched our mental health strategy along with a virtual wellness centre that provides tools to managers and employees. We focused on raising awareness and building capacity. We held many information sessions across the department, we published articles. We also engaged the youth groups about ways to reduce stigma. We also formed a joint working group that will guide and support the implementation of the strategy over the next few years. The response so far from everyone has been fantastic. Employees, managers, everyone wants to help, everyone wants to make a difference and we all believe that this focus on mental health is an excellent opportunity for the public service of Canada.

Mike Beale: Hi, I’m Mike Beale. For me, respect is about trying to make sure that every employee in the organization feels valued and appreciated for what they contribute to the team, because we are all part of one big team.

Todd Panas: Hello, I’m Todd Panas. As co-chair for the National Respect Committee for Environment and Climate Change Canada, I feel we are definitely making a difference as far as awareness and strong departmental action to change the much needed culture of the public service. Respect is all about bringing the humanity back to the workplace, and for every employee to wake up in the morning and wanting to go to work with a smile on their face, without any fear. I certainly want to thank Michael Martin, the Deputy Minister, and my wonderful co-chair, Mike Beale, for their ongoing support on this great initiative.

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