Workplace stress is a serious health and safety hazard that can have devastating effects. Workplace causes of workers’ mental distress need to be addressed. Primary prevention addresses the cause or source of the problem. Recognizing and managing workplace psychosocial factors can create a supportive/healthy workplace environment.


“So much more than exercising, meditating and going to bed early.”

Burnout is no longer an acceptable outcome for meeting employer expectations.

Use the many resources below to assess and improve the psychosocial climate of your workplace and prevent worker mental injury:



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

In March 2023, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) released a report on “union-based initiatives to protect the mental health of young public transport workers”, along with a briefing paper in nine languages and the announcement of an online train-the-trainers course directed to participants with responsibilities for youth and/or occupational safety and health issues within their unions.

The report shows the experiences during the COVID shutdown of young public transport workers in seven countries (Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Spain, Uganda and the United States), and the impact these experiences had on their emotional and mental health. It also highlights the actions for containment, support and negotiation that their unions implemented, and includes a scoping review of 30 years of scientific literature of relevance to the topic, plus selected case studies for each country.

OHCOW led the Canadian component, focused on B.C. and Ontario, with support from the University of British Columbia (UBC). The research responded to the ITF initiative, in pursuit of one of its key issues (health and safety) and the need to reinforce the unions’ approach, ranging from individual worker experience to the responsibility of governments and employers to ensure safe and healthy working environments.

Download Booklet:

COVID-19 and the Toll on Workers’ Mental Health

John Oudyk, OHCOW Occupational Hygienist discusses the results of the Public Health Agency of Canada survey, outlining some of the contributing risk factors to individuals mental health, and then ties in the missing link – workplace risk factors.

From the results of OHCOW’s Pandemic Response Surveys, John shows the effect that workplace protective measures have had on workers mental health throughout the pandemic and highlights how the role of meeting workers COVID protection needs can minimize the impact of the pandemic on workers’ mental health and wellbeing.

Preventing Workplace Mental Harm NEW!

Feeling overwhelmed and burnt out from work? You are not alone!
Let’s talk about it and find out what can be done to assess the psychosocial risk factors at your workplace and help reduce workplace mental stress.

This 30 minute video is a great starting point for joint health and safety committees, unions, workplace parties, and individuals who are interested in learning more about preventing workplace mental harm and how using OHCOW’s StressAssess tool can help them in their journey to a more psychologically healthy workplace.

Workplace Mental Health Webinar Series

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 current global pandemic.

This five week series held annually in May, draws speakers from across Ontario and beyond to highlight and share solutions to Workplace Mental Health, Stress and Injury Prevention with consideration for both the new, and (hopefully soon) restored, “normal”.

MayDay MayDay 2023
Plans for our 2023 event are well underway!
Please plan to join us as we explore ways forward in developing healthier, safer, more inclusive workplaces.

Visit our MAYDAY MAYDAY event page for details. 

(Recordings, slides, etc.)

“… there is a growing movement among researchers and practitioners in occupational health psychology to have a more integrated and comprehensive approach to workplace health. This approach aims to have a balance between prevention of illness at work and promotion of well-being and health by enhancement of strengths, resources and optimal functioning in the workplace.”

A Survey of the Psychosocial Factors in Your Workplace

A free, evidence-based online survey tool designed to assist workplaces in identifying psychosocial hazards
that can lead to stress and mental injury.

Provides suggestions and pathways to address issues, and thus prevent harm.

Simple to Use   •   Fosters a Team Approach   •   Includes a Wizard* 

* supporting preparation, implementation and subsequent problem solving.

Workplace and Individual Editions Available

Workplace Approaches and Solutions

The following Case Studies provide insight into how organizations are using StressAssess to improve the mental health of their employees and build better workplaces.

Algoma Family Services (AFS)

Workplace Approaches and Solutions – CAMH

Building on Successive Surveys: A Worthwhile Investment – IHSA

A Spark to Action

 Introduction to the mini-MIT
including Lucy’s Story

Learn more about Preventing Harm in the
Workplace – A Reference Guide

StressAssess Action Templates

The StressAssess survey follow up needs to be planned, transparent and practiced. These MSWord templates*,  are based on experiences helping several workplaces run the survey. They are easy to use and will help you plan your survey timeline, summarize your results, organize your recommendations and communicate them all to your staff.

*created by Terri Szymanski of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)


The following testimonials were taken for the 2021 MayDay, MayDay webinar entitled
Mental Injury Toolkit/StressAssess Solutions & Case Studies

 < Use the dots above to view more testimonials >


An Introduction and Action Guide Created by Workers for Workers

This 6-part Guide and Resource Toolkit provides workers with a basic understanding and place to start when learning about work-related stress.
It provides definitions, common causes of mental distress, legal frameworks*, possible actions to take, and resources.
* focusing on Ontario

Preventing Mental Harm in the Workplace
– A Reference Guide –

Cover image of the OHCOW Preventing Mental Harm in the Workplace guide


What are Psychosocial Hazards?

How to Organize a Survey

What To Do After the Survey?



The following two survey were conducted by OHCOW
during the COVID Pandemic:

Workers’ Experiences During a Pandemic
Healthcare Workers’ Experiences During a Pandemic


While over half of Ontario workers report a good psychological health and safety climate at work, almost half experience offensive behaviours and almost a third are experiencing symptoms of burnout.

In response to a poll administered in 2019:


of Ontario workers rated the psychological health and safety climate at work as “healthy/supportive” or “good” (9% rated it as “poor” or “toxic” – still a lot of workers!).


of Ontario workers experienced one or more offensive behaviours (sexual harassment (12%), threats of violence (16%), physical violence (12%), bullying (29%) and/or discrimination (19%) at least a few times in the past year at work


of Ontario workers responded that they experienced symptoms of burnout “all of the time” or “a large part of the time”.


Held Annually on October 10

Is Your Workplace Healthy?

A row of icons depicting the variety of services that OHCOW offers


OHCOW offers a variety of services that you or your workplace can utilize
in dealing with work-related injuries or illnesses.

From an information/inquiry service to ergonomic assessments to medical diagnostic services, and education and outreach programs
to group services and research services we are here to help.

We also offer advocate, health professional, self, and joint health and safety representative and committee referrals.

From Our Partners, et al.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Posters & Infographics

Government of Ontario

Mental health in the workplace
Find mental health support

International Websites

Healthy Work Campaign

COPSOQ International Network (Denmark)

People at Work (Australia)

Work Positive (Ireland)

Icon of a bus and a bus driver representing the OHCOW and UBC Urban Transit Workers study

Calling all Urban Transit Workers under the age of 35 to participate in our:

Study on the Mental Health and Well-being of Young Public Transit Workers in Canada

Conducted by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and OHCOW

Your input is needed to help inform our research and provide recommendations to unions and workplaces on potential actions they can take to protect the mental health and well-being of young workers.