Seeking Solutions: June mental health meeting to take 360 degree look at violence and workplace safety

OPSEU’s Mental Health Division is bringing together experts from across the province to take a 360 degree look at the issue of violence and workplace safety. Scheduled for June 17-18 in Toronto, this two-day event is intended to start a dialogue towards engineering a safer environment for both staff and patients. That includes sessions where we turn to the participants to contribute their own best practices.

Studies tell us that patients suffering from mental illness are no more prone to violence than the general population. Yet incidents of violence vary greatly even among comparative mental health environments in the province. Why it is at some hospitals Code Whites – a response to aggressive behaviour — are a daily occurrence, while at others they are a rarity?

Jeff Moat, Partners for Mental Health

Jeff Moat, Partners for Mental Health

How can we address the issue of violence without contributing to stigma? What role do least restraint policies play, and can they be better implemented? What kind of training should be available to staff to better handle these situations? What existing legislation exists, and what are the gaps? What happens when professionals conduct this work in the community? What role does the workplace environment play?

Speakers confirmed so far include:

Glenn French — President and CEO of the Canadian Initiative on Workplace Violence
Heather Stuart — Bell Canada Mental Health & Anti-Stigma Research Chair, Queen’s University
Jeff Moat – President, Partners for Mental Health
Nancy Casselman — Director, Human Resources & Organizational Quality, Safety and Wellness at Toronto East General Hospital
Lori Schindel Martin – Associate Professor, Ryerson University
Warren (Smokey) Thomas – OPSEU President
Lisa McCaskell — OPSEU Senior Health & Safety Officer
Marty McFarlane – OPSEU Education Officer

The new Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn, has also been invited to open the meeting.


The event will also look at the result of a workplace violence survey that has been sent out to all Mental Health Locals. If your local health and safety members haven’t filled out the survey yet, please do so as soon as possible by clicking here.

Who is eligible to attend?

Every OPSEU mental health local has been invited to send their highest ranking member or their delegate, plus a member from each health and safety committee.

If you are eligible to attend, please contact your local executive as soon as possible about registering for this event. Space is very limited.

One response to “Seeking Solutions: June mental health meeting to take 360 degree look at violence and workplace safety

  1. Good article
    That being said and having read your survey I am afraid you are short about 60 degree’s of your 360 look at workplace violence
    I am talking about abusive managers backed by abusive employer’s
    In your options for why abuse is not reported or acted upon, the manager/employer as being the abuser is not an option and it should be
    This ties into and may even be part of the foundation for patient abuse toward hospital staff
    Patients witness and overhear staff being belittled, degraded, competence questioned, threatened and bullied by their manager, they think it is ok to act in a similar manor
    Then you have managers shaking fingers and raising voices
    Then you have managers referring to “their” nurses to patients and relatives as the “kids”
    Then you have managers asking nursing staff to “smell” soiled linen etc.
    I could go on here for ever, you get the idea
    Managers would find it very difficult to witness their own behaviour in
    patients, recognize it for what it is and see that it is inappropriate or wrong
    If you want the truth of how staff are treated in the workplace, you need to talk to retiree’s who are “safe” from their former employer’s
    Bill 168 is full of references to “management rights” leading some employers to think that the legislation is only directed at employee’s and their relationships not managers or employers and how they treat their staff

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