Activating Knowledge for Workplace Mental Health

MAYDAY, MAYDAY is an internationally recognized cry for help, and Mayday itself celebrates the contribution of workers the world over, both of which apply to the critically important subject of Workplace Mental Health, especially as we all strive to cope with the impact of the recent global pandemic.


Wednesday, May 1, 2024
10:30am - 12:00pm ET

Marking International Workers' Day + important anniversaries; Sharing history, research & practice; Finding effective, sustainable solutions

May Day is celebrated as Labour Day around the world, and it was also the 1989 start date of OHCOW's first Occupational Hygienist, John Oudyk. This year we'll celebrate OHCOW (and John’s) 35th anniversary through the cross-sectional lens of Knowledge Activism and Workplace Mental Health and Injury Prevention, which we continue to champion.

Making a Difference: Knowledge Activism on a Community Scale

Learn about past and recent contributions of the United Steelworkers Union - all pivotal steps of worker knowledge mobilizing prevention progress, beginning with the Elliott Lake Wildcat strike 50 years ago, OHCOW's origins in the 80s, translating the Westray Mine Explosion into the Criminal Code in 2004 and facing the mental health and gender-based violence challenges we now recognize in workplaces today.

SPEAKERS:  Sylvia Boyce, United Steelworkers Canadian National Office, Health, Safety & Environment Department Leader

Knowledge Activism Research and Implications for Workplace Mental Health

Review important research on worker activist engagement and success and consider the implications in the context of worker (and activist) mental health.

Dr. Alan Hall, Honorary Research Professor, Memorial University

Research into Practice: Applied Knowledge Activism and Tool Development

2024 is also the 15th anniversary of the Mental Injury Tool Group, which pioneered the recognition of stress and other harm-inducing factors as occupational hazards warranting assessment and elimination/control, developing an entire toolkit and fostering knowledge activation with its core element, a validated survey built on the Copenhagen psycho-social Questionnaire.

The MIT/StressAssess story is essentially a case study in applied knowledge activism in the form of tool development which has been a common thread of OHCOW's practice under John's leadership.

SPEAKER:  John Oudyk, MSc, CIH, ROH, Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW

For more Workplace Mental Health information and resources visit our Workplace Mental Health page or our StressAssess page.


2. International COPSOQ Survey Network Research Stories

May 8, 2024
10:00am - 12:00pm ET

Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire users share valuable insights and experience in identifying workplace stress factors around the world == Offering insights of interest to all those striving to improve health and well-being in their research or practice.


Hosted by members of the COPSOQ International Network

(New Zealand): Co-creation or adaptation: COPSOQ to fit the needs of the commercial fishing sector of NZ.

Highlighting a pilot project contextualising COPSOQ for the fishing sector, completed last December for Maritime New Zealand . The presentation includes feedback from industry along with findings shared at IFISH 6, along with the methodology of the project.

Speaker: Dr. Fatima Junaid MBA, MSc, PhD, , ANZITT, APA, Senior Lecturer, Doctoral Co-Supervisor School of Management

(Russia) "Online Data Collection: Validating the COPSOQ Questionnaire"

Describing an insightful journey utilizing online services to gather data for the validation of the national version of the COPSOQ questionnaire. The initiative not only streamlined their data collection process but also significantly contributed to the robustness and reliability of their validation efforts.

Speakers: Anna Novikova, PhD, Senior Researcher; Vasiliy Shirokov, Professor , Scientific Head of the Institute of General and Occupational Pathology

(Belgium) Organizational level health based cut-off points for psychosocial work environment factors

Unlike benchmarks, cut-off points are health-based reference values and refer to a relevant health outcome. This enables researchers to distinguish between positive and negative effects on health. Group level cut-off points should be used in an organizational context. From a preventive point of view the use of an early indicator of reduced well-being is indicated. The aim of this study of191 organizations (26558 subjects) was to determine cut-off points on an organizational level based on the prevalence of high need for recovery.

Speaker: Dr. Philippe Kiss, Honorary fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Public Health and Primary Care

(Türkiye) Association between psychosocial risks and eating quality and physical activity

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality worldwide, prompting extensive research. While direct association between psychosocial risk (PSR)/eating habits to CVD has generated significant attention, the interplay between psychosocial risk and eating habits remains relatively unexplored. The current cross sectional study explores the intricate interplay between these two variables while also delving into the relationship between psychosocial risks and physical activity among a sample of 260 medical staff members from Burns and Plastic Surgery Hospital in Tripoli, Libya.

Speakers: Marwa Ali Ahmed Doufani, Yeditepe Univ. Institute of Health Science, MPH programme, Turkiye & Primary Health Care Institute, Libya
Yucel Demiral, Dokuz Eylul Univ. Medical Faculty, Dept. Public Health, Turkiye



Activating Knowledge: WMH Research Initiatives

May 15, 2024
10:30am - 12:00pm ET

Evidence-Informed Workplace Policies & Practices for PTSI Disability Prevention

The prevalence of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSIs) among first responders is high and often leads to work disability. Recent studies have shown that organizational policies and practices have an important impact; however, the scientific evidence about the effectiveness of interventions is limited. Regardless, first responder organizations must develop ways to protect workers. Learn about this project to engage with Alberta first responder stakeholders to co-develop an evidence summary on current, best and effective interventions to manage and prevent PTSIs, to ensure the findings are relevant, and to increase the uptake of this knowledge in Alberta.

Speakers: Emile Tompa, MBA, PhD, Executive Director, IDEA,Director, CRWDP,Associate Professor, McMaster University,Senior Scientist, Institute for Work & Health; Emma Irvin, Director, Research Operations, Institute for Work & Health

Understanding Work-Related Suicide

Join Dr. Bittle for an update on his research, which includes analysing WCB appeals on work-related suicide and continuing analysis of the 2023 Work-Related Suicide Survey, whose purpose is to examine how to define the phenomenon, its causes and consequences, relevant laws and polices, and current and recommended prevention strategies. The goal is to better understand the nature and scope of work-related suicide and related response and prevention measures.

Speaker: Dr. Steven Bittle, Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa

NOWW IS THE TIME: Northwestern Ontario Workplace & Worker Health Cohort Study (NOWWHS)

Learn about (and participate in) the largest cohort study ever conducted in Northwestern Ontario which examines workplace factors for health and wellbeing in the workplace. It is being conducted by the EPID@Work (Enhancing the Prevention of Injury and Disability at Work) Research Institute at Lakehead University

Speaker: Dr. Vicki Kristmann, Professor, Lakehead University; ON Research Chair in Injury & Disability Management; Director & Senior Scientist, EPID@Work Research Institute


4. Considering Key Issues: Violence, Pain & Surveys

May 22, 2024
10:30am - 12:00pm ET

Violence & Harassment + Opioid Harm are key workplace issues and therefore targets of Ontario's Prevention Works Program + Survey success

Workplace Violence Risk Assessments – New and Improved Tools

The MLITSD Prevention Works Committee focusing on work-related mental harms and workplace violence and harassment has decided that a new tool is required to effectively support Ontario workplaces to assess the risk of violence. With a focus on small businesses, WSPS is taking the lead to develop a user-friendly tool that will help meet legislative requirements and decrease harms associated with violence at work. During this interactive session, you will be given the opportunity to share what you would like to see included in this tool and what’s coming down the pipeline.

Speaker: Kristy Cork, CRSP, Specialized Consultant – Healthy WorkplacesWorkplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)

Pain/Management role in Opioid Harm Reduction Program

Did you know the WHO recognizes chronic pain as a disease of it’s own? However, many people still believe in the “suck it up” approach, relying upon self-treatment or self-medication, which we know is problematic, -- in particular if illicit drugs like opioids are involved. Chronic pain can be difficult to control and some days can be better than others. Good pain management supports at the workplace help workers manage their situation to not just function at work, but to also avoid the all too common trap of seeking illicit market opioids to “cope”. Learn how opioids, chronic pain and pain management intersect when addressing opioid related harms and workplace accommodations.

Speaker: Kathy Martin, Coordinator, Research, Stakeholder & Public Relations, Mental Health and Wellness Specialist, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA)

How important is it to use a “valid” questionnaire to measure workplace stress?

In the HR field there are all kinds of surveys available to workplaces – surveys that claim to measure engagement, job satisfaction, workplace culture, burnout, etc. Very few of authors of these commercially available surveys have published any evidence regarding their validity and reliability of their instruments. There are also disagreements about the need to establish the validity of questionnaires: some saying its “overkill”. What does it mean to use a “valid” questionnaire? This session will review these questions and explore the implications for the use of surveys in the workplace.

Speaker: John Oudyk, MSc, CIH, ROH, Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW


5. Activating Knowledge: Tools & Services

May 29, 2024
10:30am -12:00 pm ET

Building new, innovative and practical solutions for workers and workplaces is a key goal of the Ontario Prevention System.  Learn & begin!

A new tool to assess job-based risk of psychological harm

Introducing the Occupational Psychological Risk Assessment Tool – a collaborative solution for assessing risk of psychological harm on the job. The OPRA is an innovative, web-based tool that uses a shared, participatory approach to review job factors that impact worker mental health, rate subjective risk of psychological harm, and collectively identify solutions to support worker wellbeing. Participants will:

  • Review the mental health continuum and job-based psychological harm
  • Learn how job factors can impact worker mental health
  • Explore a new tool to assess and control risk of psychological harm on the job

Speaker: Tegan Slot, Manager, Workplace Wellbeing, Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA)

A new tool to assess Workplace Violence in the Education Sector

Introducing the Workplace Violence Risk Assessment (WVRA) Tool for the K-12 Education Sector. The WVRA is an innovative, solution that was created by educators, administrators and OHS professionals for their environment. The tool uses a shared, participatory approach to review job conditions where workers may experience violence, assess the risk, and discuss mitigation strategies that are applicable to their environment. Participants will:

  • Learn how the Workplace Violence risk assessment was developed.
  • Learn how the WVRA tool is to be utilized.
  • Next steps for the WVRA tool to be integrated into the education sector.

Speaker: Chris Arsenault, Director, Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Education and Specialized Services, Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA)

JobAssess - accurately and efficiently capture the 4 critical domains of any job.

Introducing OHCOW’s new online Job Demands Analysis Tool in the context of a real workplace, with a focus on capturing cognitive, emotional and environmental demands which impact mental as well as physical health. The tool can be accessed by phone, tablet, or computer to assess a job in real time. Users can download the results for their own use, or create a database account to save, build from and compare numerous assessments - a valuable prevention tool for workplaces of any size.

Speaker: Daryl Stephenson – Ergonomist - OHCOW Hamilton

 Please join us as we explore ways forward in developing healthier, safer, more respectful workplaces.

This webinar series is complete, and all sessions are recorded and able to view below.

May 10, 2023

COPSOQ Joint Session: Research into Practice

A. Canadian Survey Results and Trends
B. Survey Use and Challenges in Canada
C. Workplace Mental Health Survey Use Around the World

May 3, 2023   1:30 - 3:00 pm

Session 1: Opioid Addiction and Impairment Prevention at Work

A current concern in many workplaces and a Provincial OHS priority. Learn about the complexity of factors involved, plus resources to help.

Note:  The webinar will be recorded and streamed on FaceBook.

May 10, 2023

Session 2: COPSOQ Joint Session – Research into Practice

A unique opportunity to look at the international use and impact of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire, an important workplace mental health/stress prevention survey tool

OHCOW is hosting the biannual COPSOQ (Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire) Network meeting in Hamilton on May 11 & 12 which will discuss the technicalities of the survey and its use around the world. We have deliberately scheduled it in May to intersect with our annual Mayday, Mayday Symposium on Workplace Mental Health and Injury Prevention. Research into Practice is a combined event including our regular audience of worker activists and advocates, Workers Compensation and OHS professionals, regulators, and researchers as well as others interested in the COPSOQ from around the world. This is one of three virtual sessions as a complement to the full-day, in-person* Joint COPSOQ & OHCOW Network Meeting in Hamilton, ON.

9:30 - 11:00 am

A. Canadian Survey Results and Trends

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

B. Survey Use and Challenges in Canada

2:00 - 3:30 pm

C. Workplace Mental Health Survey Use Around the World

May 17, 2023

Session 3: Youth Mental Health in the Community and at Work

Young workers have recognized vulnerabilities to workplace injuries & harms, including to psychosocial risk factors, made worse in the pandemic.

Learn more about challenges faced by these frequently exposed front-line staff in their daily jobs, and some solutions to reduce risk and mitigate harm from an agency, industry and advocacy perspective.


Introduction and Welcome, Melissa Statham, Ergonomist, OHCOW

Part A: Youth Mental Health Outreach/Support, challenges and solutions, Ashleigh Erdelyan MSW RSW, Zahra Abou Elhassan MSW RSW, Youth Wellness Hub, CMHA-Windsor Essex

Part B: Essential Public Services, Essential Workers’ Health: Union-based Initiatives to Protect the Mental Health of Young Public Transport Workers

Introduction and Canadian context for the International Project and Report, Shirly Yan, Occupational Hygienist, OHCOW
On the ground: Young Worker advocacy and support, Krista Lee Hanson, President, Unifor Road Transport Council

May 24, 2023

Session 4: Crisis Planning for Worker & Responder Mental Health

Raising awareness and recognizing planning and operational strategies that can make a difference in the short & long term impact of trauma.

Learn more about challenges faced by these frequently exposed front-line staff in their daily jobs, and some solutions to reduce risk and mitigate harm from an agency, industry and advocacy perspective.

Health and safety professionals, first responders and other workers in many sectors have suffered disproportionate stress, along with mental and physical harm/injury since the beginning of the pandemic. However, there are also long-standing challenges in a workforce that is programmed to smile and go the extra mile when the inevitable effects linger and accumulate. How can we help individually and collectively, especially from a workplace health and safety perspective?

In order to stop the harm, we need to recognize the patterns of impact and injury and the points of intervention that can influence change to prevent, mitigate, support and recover.


  1. A Safety Professional’s Experience with Mental Health, Andy Kerr, Director, Health, Safety and Environment, Alectra Utilities
  2. PTSD from a public safety perspective, Tanya Morose, Director, Prevention, Retention and Engagement, Public Safety, Health and Community Care, Public Services Health & Safety Association
  3. PeerOnCall @ work: Providing mental health support in the palm of your hand, Navdeep Goraya, MPH(c), McMaster University and Sandra Moll, Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Science
  4. Worker trauma support planning in Crisis management, Kathy Martin, Coordinator, Research, Stakeholder & Public Relations, Mental Health and Wellness Specialist, Infrastructure Health and Safety Association


May 31, 2023

Session 5: Workplace Mental Health Programs and Opportunities

Wrapping up this important webinar series with a focus on success strategies, tools and other resources to support workers and workplaces.


  • StressAssess Survey Success, A Case Study, Jordan Bray-Stone, Chairperson, Air Canada Component of CUPE Occupational Health and Safety Committee and CUPE Airline Division Health and Safety Committee and Nicola Schnell, Vice-chairperson - Air Canada Component of CUPE Occupational Health and Safety Committee
  • Walk the Talk - Creating a Psychologically Safe Workplace, Esther Fleurimond, Health & Safety Consultant (Workplace Mental Health), Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS)
  • Psychological Health and Safety Program and Resources, Tegan Slot, R.Kin MSc PhD CRSP CCPE, Lead, Specialized Services, Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA)


Visit OHCOW's WMH webpage and for more information and resources on Workplace Mental Health and Injury Prevention.

And Contact Us for more information about, and assistance in, protecting workers and workplaces from injuries and illnesses caused or exacerbated by their work environment, activities or conditions.


Access the resources (recordings, PDFs, etc.) from previous year's sessions using the links provided below: