February 18, 2021

In April 2020, the Canadian Mental Health Association called for immediate action to avoid the potential of an “echo pandemic” of mental health issues resulting from COVID-19. In subsequent months, studies revealing dramatically increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts among Canadians have indicated that the echo pandemic has become a devastating reality. At this critical time, employers and unions have important opportunities and responsibilities in mitigating the pandemic’s profound psychological impact on employees. In this session, legal and mental health experts will provide practical guidance to workplace parties on best practices for managing stress, burnout, and pandemic fatigue.

  • How has the pandemic affected mental health and well-being both within and beyond the workplace? How have pandemic-related changes in work arrangements and conditions contributed to high levels of stress and burnout among employees?
  • What organizational factors increase the likelihood of employee stress or burnout, and what proactive measures can employers and unions take to address them?
  • What signs may indicate that an employee is experiencing burnout or harmful levels of stress? How can an employer or union representative initiate a helpful conversation with an employee in distress?
  • What can employers and unions do to provide meaningful support to employees dealing with stress or burnout to help them remain at work? How can empathy, emotional intelligence, and trauma-informed approaches help workplace leaders reduce stress and prevent burnout among employees?
  • Where reducing stress is required to accommodate an employee with a disability, what accommodation strategies may be helpful or necessary? Can pandemic-related stress alone constitute a disability that triggers the duty to accommodate?
  • What steps can individuals take to manage job stress, avoid burnout, and build resilience?
  • What is pandemic fatigue, and how does it affect the workplace? How can employers and unions support employees experiencing pandemic fatigue?
  • What should workplace parties do to prepare for the long-term mental health impacts of the pandemic? How can employers and unions collaborate to support employees and build a psychologically healthy and safe workplace?