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.
Jason Bett is the Director General for Operations in the Strategic Communications and Marketing Sector at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). He leads the team responsible for delivering strategic communications support and services to multiple ministers, senior officials of the department and the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio at large.
Jason joined ISED in spring 2006 and occupied various positions in communications prior to his most recent role as Director General. He also spent 18 months at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as Director, Media Relations and Public Affairs.
Jason is also the Champion for Public Service Pride, representing a network of more than 50 federal departments and agencies, and Chair of the LGBTQ2+ Network at ISED, building on his vision to send a clear message that the public service is committed to cultivating a diverse, safe, respectful, healthy and inclusive workplace. Jason completed his studies in political science at the University of Ottawa. He is also the recipient of a 2020 APEX Award of Excellence for creating a healthy workplace.
Cleo Big Eagle
Cleo Big Eagle is currently the Director of the First Nations - Crown Policy Relations Directorate with the Reconciliation Secretariat at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs 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.
Janet Campbell joined the Office of the Auditor General in September 2019 to serve as the organization's first internal Ombuds. In this role, she provides confidential, impartial and informal support to staff at all levels, to facilitate the resolution of work-related concerns, and to foster a values-based corporate culture. Janet served as Ombuds and Director of the Office of Values and Ethics at Canadian Heritage from January 2015 to August 2019.
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.
Curtis Charney is currently the Indigenous recruitment officer for the Correctional Services of Canada. He is responsible for Indigenous community engagement, as well as all other aspects of the recruitment process for Indigenous candidates within the Prairie region. He has been in this position for the last 5 years.
He has 19 years of experience with CSC, starting as parole officer at the RPC in Saskatoon. He subsequently delivered Indigenous programming, and was the Regional Indigenous Health coordinator for the Prairies region for 11 years.
Curtis has BA from the University of Saskatchewan.
In his spare time, he is a drummer in a country- rock band in Saskatoon, and enjoys time with his adult twin daughters Victoria and Hope.
Carol-Lyne Cloutier joined the federal public service 21 years ago. She currently holds the position of Regional Director of Greater Montreal Business Office at Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.
Carol-Lyne has a Bachelor's degree in business administration from Université du Québec à Montréal.
Jed Cochrane is the Visitor Experience Manager for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay Field Unit with Parks Canada. He manages a passionate team of Parks Canada employees that deliver visitor experience in one of the busiest parks in the country.
Jed has worked for Parks Canada for over 13 years. His career has included 23 years of experience managing wildfires and forest ecology with a Master of Science in fire ecology from the University of British Columbia. He was a ‘Type 1’ incident commander on a Parks Canada incident management team for over 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.
Christine Donoghue was appointed Chief Human Resources Officer in May 2021.
Christine arrived from the Canada Revenue Agency, where she had been Deputy Commissioner of Revenue since August 2018. She was previously Associate Deputy Minister at Health Canada from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, Christine served in various assistant deputy minister positions since 2005, including at Natural Resources Canada, the Canada School of Public Service, Environment Canada, and the Public Service Commission, where she also served as Acting President.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Law from Université Laval.
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 Director of Occupational Health and Safety at Public Services and Procurement Canada. In this role, she provides leadership, strategic direction and support to ensure employees have a safe and healthy workplace, both physically and psychologically.
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.
Mae Johnson is the Director of the Office of Drug Policy and Science at Health Canada, where she provides leadership for drug policy initiatives. She has over 25 years of federal government experience at Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Department of National Defence, with significant experience in policy, strategic planning and reporting, stakeholder engagement, and change management. From 2017 to 2021, Mae was the Chair of the Health Canada Persons with Disabilities Network and is a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Accessibility Network, a national partnership led out of Carleton University.
Mae holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Manitoba, a Master of Arts in Political Science from Carleton University, and a Diploma in European Studies from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.
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.
Seyi (Shay) Okuribido-Malcolm is Director of the Anti-Racism Secretariat at the Department of National Defence. She has been with the Defence Team for three years, serving as Deputy Director within the Gender Equality, and Intersectional Analysis team before joining the Anti-Racism Secretariat.
Seyi has been with the federal public service for 21 years and started her career as a coop student at the Public Service Commission working in the Employment Equity Positive Measures Program. Over the years, Seyi has taken on increasingly progressive national policy roles and gained expertise in engagement with various communities across a number of departments including the Canadian Coast Guard.
Seyi holds a double major in Political Science and Sociology/Anthropology and a Masters of Public Administration from Carleton University. Throughout her university career, she became increasingly more active in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and all of the impacts it has within the Black community.
Seyi has been a steady presence in the Ottawa community serving as a board member on the National Capital Alliance on Race Relations and a co-founder of Parents for Diversity, a collective of parents committed to achieving inclusive learning environments that allow children to fulfill their true potential in this world. Seyi is committed to optimizing the power of inclusion by advancing a state of equity where she can.
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).
Denis Skinner, Executive Director of Digital Change at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, holds a Bachelor of Engineering, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration. An experienced digital systems professional and entrepreneur, Denis has successfully led a number of high profile initiatives and major crown projects, including those for key Government of Canada departments such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Public Service Commission, where he was the Chief Information Officer. In his previous Director General role at Employment and Social Development Canada, Denis led the department’s IT Strategy and Enterprise Architecture in support the department’s transformation in its service to Canadians. Denis now brings his strong and disruptive leadership to TBS, leveraging his experience and strength in community building and progressive change.
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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