New research centre dedicated to addressing growing importance of mental health and wellness

Ambitious research will explore absenteeism and future-proofing investments in workplace mental health: 
The Conference Board of Canada | Desjardins Insurance 

Ottawa, April 5, 2022 – The Conference Board of Canada today announced the establishment of the Workplace Mental Health Research Centre. This new Research Centre will provide meaningful, actionable insights and better support to all Canadians through ambitious research that looks at key facets of mental health in the workplace.   

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health and wellness as many Canadians have struggled with isolation, job loss, remote work environments and economic uncertainties,” said Dr. Susan Black, CEO of The Conference Board of Canada. “As we continue to navigate through the pandemic and beyond, our research at the Workplace Mental Health Research Centre will examine the growing importance of mental health and wellbeing for employers and employees.” 

Mounting evidence indicates that the growing cost to society of mental illness is not sustainable. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reported the economic burden of mental illness in Canada was estimated to be approximately $51 billion each year, with $6.3 billion resulting from lost workplace productivity. Further, mental illness represents roughly one-third of short and long-term disability claims, and 70 per cent of workplace disability costs. Moving through COVID-19, many Canadians report significant concern and anxiety over the future.  

“The physical and mental health of our society is directly connected to the vitality of our communities. For employers and their employees, the last few years have focused on adapting, innovating and being resilient,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. “But we need to constantly evaluate our mental wellbeing and ensure we are supporting Canadians. We are proud to partner with the Conference Board of Canada in establishing this new research centre to gain valuable insights that can help build better solutions at the workplace.”

The Centre will work with its founding member, Desjardins Insurance, as well as Sun Life Financial and Lundbeck Canada on research examining the impact of workplace absenteeism and future-proofing investments in workplace mental health, and on additional topics pending input from Centre members.

“Prioritizing employee mental health benefits all organizations,” said Erin Mills, Director, Human Capital and Workplace Health at The Conference Board of Canada. “Increased mental wellness leads to increased productivity and engagement, lower turnover, and creates a healthy, respectful work environment, where everyone feels valued and supported.”

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About The Conference Board of Canada: 

The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s leading independent research organization. Our mission is to empower and inspire leaders to build a stronger future for all Canadians through our trusted research and unparalleled connections. Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda.  

About Desjardins Group:  

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in North America and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $397 billion. In 2021 it was ranked as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world's strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

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