Clerk’s Contact Group on Mental Health 

Message from the Clerk

As Canada’s largest employer, the Federal Public Service has a responsibility and a duty to be proactive and to lead by example in creating and supporting a healthy workplace. We know that the health and wellness of employees is critical for success, and essential to providing high-quality, excellent service to Canadians.

Together, we have made important progress in recognizing the importance of mental health, and we will continue challenging ourselves to have honest and open dialogue about mental health to ensure a healthier and more productive Public Service.

One of the ways we are continuing the dialogue is with the creation of the Clerk’s Contact Group on Mental Health. I encourage you to read this webpage to find out more about the group’s role, its members and the vital work they are doing.  Here you will also find links to many useful resources on mental health and wellbeing.

Contact group


As head of the Federal Public Service, the Clerk of the Privy Council is dedicated to making significant progress on addressing mental health issues in the workplace. To help gauge how efforts to build a healthy, respectful and supportive work environment are actually being felt by public servants in their day-to-day workplaces, the Clerk convened a Contact Group on Mental Health. The Contact Group is made up of federal public servants, from various levels and backgrounds, who meet regularly to have frank and honest conversations about mental health issues being faced in the workplace. This group helps the Clerk stay in touch with employees who share their diverse views on mental health initiatives planned or underway across the Federal Public Service. The members of the group bring their personal perspectives to discussions which provide the Clerk with input on how the Government is doing with its commitment to a healthy workplace.

Bill Basran

Photo: Bill Basran

J. S. (Bill) Basran joined the Tax Law section of the Department of Justice Canada in the British Columbia Region in 1995. In October of 2007, Bill became the Regional Director General of the British Columbia Regional Office.

In addition to his duties as the Regional Director General, Bill is the department’s Champion for both Visible Minorities and Pro Bono. He was instrumental in developing the Department of Justice’s first Pro Bono Policy for Justice lawyers. Bill earned a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan, and was called to the bar in 1995.

Cleo Big Eagle

Photo: Cleo Big Eagle

Cleo Big Eagle is a Policy and Program Advisor with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada with experience working on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Pre-Inquiry Engagement Sessions. Prior to this she worked with the Indian Residential Schools Hearings on the Independent Assessment Process.

Cleo is currently enrolled in graduate studies at Carleton University’s Indigenous Policy and Administration Program.

Catherine Blewett

Photo: Catherine Blewett

Catherine Blewett was appointed Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2016. She has more than 20 years of experience in both the provincial and federal public services. She joined Fisheries and Oceans after serving as Clerk of the Executive Council and Secretary to Cabinet in Nova Scotia where she was the Head of the Public Service, responsible for the overall policy, management, and human resource capacity leadership in the Province.

Catherine holds Bachelor of Arts and Master in Public Administration degrees from Dalhousie University. She is also a faculty member of the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University, teaching in the Master of Public Administration (Management) program. Catherine is delighted to be part of the Clerk’s Contact Group on Mental Health, and also serves as the Mental Health Champion at Fisheries and Oceans.

Janet Campbell

Photo: Janet Campbell

Janet Campbell became Ombudsperson and Director of the Office of Values and Ethics at Canadian Heritage in 2015. In this role, she serves as a confidential, impartial and informal resource to staff at all levels, to facilitate the resolution of work-related concerns, and to foster a values-based corporate culture.

Since joining the federal government in 1997, she has held various positions at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and at Canadian Heritage.

Janet has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics from McMaster University, and a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto. 

Geneviève Caron

Photo: Geneviève Caron

Geneviève Caron joined the federal public service in 2010 as Director of Quality and Operational Coherence at Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. She currently holds the position of Regional Director at the Centre-du-Québec Business Office in Drummondville.

Geneviève has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Engineering and a Master in Business Administration from Laval University.

Nathalie Dufresne-Meek 

Photo: Nathalie Dufresne-Meek

Nathalie Dufresne-Meek began her career with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) as a Parole Officer in the early ‘90s. She has a long history within the disability management field, with the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) and with the Correctional Service of Canada.

Today, Nathalie is the acting Director General, Labour Relations & Workplace Management, which includes Labour Relations Operations, Corporate Labour Relations and Workplace Wellness & Employee Wellbeing teams, while also supporting the Steering Committee for Workplace Mental Health Injuries. She holds a Master of Arts in Applied Criminology from the University of Ottawa.

Tiffany Hong

Photo: Tiffany Hong

Tiffany Hong is the National Capital Area Manager for Occupational Health and Safety at Public Services and Procurement Canada. In this role, Tiffany is responsible for managing and leading a team of safety professionals in order to implement the department’s Occupational Health and Safety Program through awareness, training and the creation of safe work practices.

Before joining her current department, Tiffany occupied various positions at the Canada Industrial Relations Board. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, specializing in Criminology and Psychology.

Rita Notarandrea

Photo: Rita Notarandrea

Rita Notarandrea was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse in 2015. She works with all levels of government as well as the not-for-profit and private sectors to ensure that addiction is recognized as a health issue, that it remains on the national agenda for action, and that collective efforts are galvanized to reduce alcohol and drug-related harms on the health of Canadians.

Prior to this, Rita held a number of senior positions with major health service organizations, including the Royal Ottawa Hospital where she was Chief Operating Officer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Carleton University and a Master in Health Sciences from the University of Toronto.

Patrick Picard

Photo: Patrick Picard

Patrick Picard joined Global Affairs Canada in 2000 after completing his Master in International Relations degree from Laval University. He has worked abroad for Canada in Washington, D.C., Geneva, and Havana. Currently, he is the Director of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection division.

Patrick’s interest in mental health issues has grown in part from his role in assisting Global Affairs senior management efforts to destigmatize these issues and increase dialogue in the workplace. 

Janine Sherman

Photo: Janine Sherman

Janine Sherman became the Deputy Secretary for Senior Personnel and Public Service Renewal at the Privy Council Office in 2016.

She began her career in the public service at the Department of Finance in 1986 where she worked in economic development policy and tax policy areas. She then spent time with the Priorities and Planning and Social Development Policy Secretariats at the Privy Council Office before moving on to the Canadian Centre for Management Development, and the Canada School of Public Service. She returned to the Privy Council Office in 2010 as the Director of Operations with the Machinery of Government Secretariat until she joined the Senior Personnel Secretariat in October 2014 as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Senior Personnel.

Janine is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics, Commerce) and a Master of Arts (Economics).

Anne Marie Smart

Photo: Anne Marie Smart

Anne Marie Smart became the Chief Human Resources Officer in August 2015. Prior to this, she was the Associate Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada since 2012, and Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Communications and Consultations with the Privy Council Office from 2007.

Her career in the public service began in 1994 and includes positions at Human Resources and Social Development Canada and Environment Canada. Prior to that, she worked outside government on commissions and in the not-for-profit sector.

Anne Marie holds a Bachelor of Political Science from Carleton University and also studied Economics at Carleton University.

Lori Sterling

Photo: Lori Sterling

Lori Sterling became Deputy Minister of Labour and Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development in 2014.

Lori began her career with a private sector labour firm. In 1988, she moved to the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Constitutional Law Branch, where she litigated at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

In 2008, she became Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs for the Government of Ontario. She has also served as Associate Deputy Minister of Justice for the Government of Canada.

Lori has a Master of Law from Cambridge University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Queen's University.

Darryl Whitehead

Photo: Darryl Whitehead

Darryl Whitehead is the External Relations Manager of the Ontario Waterways Field Unit of Parks Canada. His team provides communications and community engagement support to the more than $700M in announced infrastructure projects along the Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Sites.

Darryl has been with the Government of Canada since 2008, including positions with the House of Commons and the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 


Mental Health in the Workplace - Make a Difference

Mental health and wellness resources

About mental health

Learn about mental health and how to improve it to benefit you. Also get information on mental illness, its risk factors, symptoms, treatment and suicide prevention.

Mental health in the workplace

Discover how to promote mental health at work and how it benefits you.

Improving your mental health

Information on mental health and ways to improve it at work and in your daily life. Also find out which factors protect or put it at risk.

Mental health services

Find mental health services for Aboriginals, veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and federal employees.

Technical Committee report

Read the Technical Committee report to the Steering Committee on Mental Health in the Workplace.

Centre of expertise on mental health in the workplace 

Find information about how the Government of Canada addresses mental health in the workplace and access resources, tools and services for organizations, managers and employees.

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