Clerk’s Contact Group on Mental Health
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, then Clerk, Michael Wernick, established a Contact Group on Mental Health in 2016.
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 and the Privy Council Office 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 input on how the Government is doing with its commitment to a healthy workplace.
Cleo Big Eagle
Cleo Big Eagle is currently the Associate Director of the Mental Wellness Division in the Office of Population & Public Health, First Nation and Inuit Health Branch at Indigenous Services Canada.
Previously she was at the Office of the Chief Operating Officer of Library and Archives Canada as the Advisor on Indigenous Engagement and Partnerships. Prior to this her work was with the former Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as a Policy and Program Advisor working on First Nations Education Partnerships, also worked with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Pre-Inquiry Engagement and with the Indian Residential School Hearings as a Resolution Manager on the Independent Assessment Process.
Cleo has completed Graduate Studies from Carleton University’s Indigenous Policy and Administration Program.
Catherine Blewett was appointed Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council on January 7, 2019. She has more than 20 years of experience in both the provincial and federal public services. She became Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in 2016, 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 a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master in Public Administration from Dalhousie University. She is delighted to be part of the Clerk’s Contact Group on Mental Health.
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 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 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.
Elisabeth Eid is the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Public Safety, Defence and Immigration (PSDI) Portfolio at the Department of Justice Canada. She is also the Department’s Mental Health Champion.
A 1990 graduate of the National Program (LLB, BCL) from the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Elisabeth Eid joined the Department of Justice in 1992 as counsel at Legal Services, Canadian Heritage. In 1996, she joined the Human Rights Law Section and in 2004, became the Section’s Director General and Senior General Counsel until 2010, when she was appointed Deputy Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the PSDI Portfolio.
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 was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction 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 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 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).
Nancy Chahwan was appointed as the Chief Human Resources Officer at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) in August 2018. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Secretary of the Government Operations Sector, TBS from May 2015 to March 2017, at which time she was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency.
From 2000 to 2015, Ms. Chahwan held regional and national senior positions in Public Works and Government Services Canada (now known as Public Sevices and Procurement Canada), where she was responsible for the rehabilitation of Canada’s Parliament buildings, managed multi-billion dollar programs in Acquisitions and Real Property, and contributed to Canada’s space programs. Her contributions include transforming program policies, implementation excellence, and fostering innovation.
Before joining the public service in 1990, Ms. Chahwan graduated from the École des Hautes études commerciales in Montreal (QC), with a B.A. in Business Administration with a double major in Finance and Management. She has also been active on several Boards of Directors of profit and not-for-profit organizations as Secretary, Chair, or Head of Audit Committee.
Ms. Chahwan is passionate about authentic leadership, empathetic service and lasting partnerships, and actively champions youth and executives. She is the recipient of the 2017 Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) award for a respectful and healthy workplace.
Jed Cochrane is currently the acting Visitor Experience Manager for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit with Parks Canada.
Jed has worked for Parks Canada for over 11 years. His career, up until recently, has been specialized in forest fire management with over 23 years of experience managing wildfires with a Master of Science in fire ecology from the University of British Columbia.
Jed has been a Type 1 incident commander on a Parks Canada incident management team for the past five years, resulting in extensive experience leading teams during stressful situations.
In 2018, Jed was the recipient of the Public Service Award of Excellence for his role in the 2017 Waterton/Kenow wildfire.
When he is not out in the forest or at his desk, he enjoys spending time with his family, running and fly-fishing.
Clerk’s Contact Group Resources Tab
The Clerk’s Contact Group launched in 2016 with the distinct goal of bringing front-line realities to the table in order to advance the priority of mental health across the federal public service.
Below are some resources discussed and/or developed through the Clerk’s Contact Group and shared to encourage further discussion and help accelerate change within your own teams and organizations:
- 2016-19 Mental Health Progress Report : The Canadian Public Service Experience: This report shares the early efforts of the Canadian Public Service to change culture, destigmatize mental health, prevent psychological injury and promote well-being in the workplace.
- Federal Public Service Mental Health Strategy: This federal guidepost sets out three key pillars for the public service: 1. Change culture, 2. Build Capacity (Tools & Resources) and 3. Measure and Report.
- Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace: This centre, established in 2017, helps organizations and employees address psychological health and safety in the federal public service by sharing tools, resources and best practices.
- Canada School of Public Service Mental Health Portal for a Healthy and Respectful Workplace (accessible only on the Government of Canada network): This portal offers mental health learning for employees and managers.
Other materials used by the Clerk’s Contact Group:
- Joint Task Force Reports: The findings and recommendations from the first 2015 Mental Health in the Workplace report was a launching point for much of the federal public service work that followed. The Task Force subsequently published two more reports: The Road to Workplace Psychological Health (2016) and A Guide to Establishing and Maintaining a Psychological Health and Safety Management System in the Federal Public Service (2017)
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