Ottawa, Ontario, March 27, 2012─The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Labour, shared her thoughts on how Canada’s Labour Code can help address workplace accommodation in a keynote speech at the INFONEX conference held in the nation’s capital. The theme of the conference was “Managing your Duty to Accommodate.”
“We must embrace accommodation not just as a matter of law, but because it is part of the values that make up our national DNA,” said Minister Raitt.
As Labour Minister, Lisa Raitt is responsible for upholding the Labour Code in federally-regulated workplaces in regard to industrial relations, health and safety, labour standards, as well as the Employment Equity Act.
“We all know, for example, that we’re dealing with an aging population,” the Minister said. “We need to recognize this and see trends like this one as opportunities for action.”
Minister Raitt also talked about a health and safety issue that often comes up in her discussions with business leaders and academics: mental health in the workplace.
Every day half a million Canadians miss work because of a mental health problem.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental illness is linked to more lost work days than any other chronic condition, and costs our economy some $51 billion a year in lost productivity—double the costs of physical illnesses.
“Too often people just suffer in silence. As Minister of Labour, I’m looking at a range of policy and program options to better address mental health challenges in the workplace,” Minister Raitt said.
When it comes to accommodation, she said, “Let’s think beyond duty. Each and every one of us has a role to play in creating workplaces where diversity and special needs are accommodated and respected.”
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