CBSA - Blueprint 2020 Report - December 2016
CBSA's Strategy to Support Mental Health

In July 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) launched‎ a comprehensive Strategy to Support Mental Health, accompanied by a three-year implementation plan. Many of the key activities have already been implemented, including the launch of mandatory Suicide and Self-harm Prevention training for employees working with people in our care, mandatory Mental Health Awareness and Creating a Respectful Workplace online training for all CBSA employees, and the launch of the Not Myself Today anti-stigma awareness campaign. The campaign launch was supported by information kiosks at both headquarters and in the regions, and was featured on the Agency's intranet site. This included information and employee video testimonials where employees shared their thoughts on mental health, their personal experiences, and the importance of talking about mental health in the workplace.

Mental health matters

This video provides an overview of employee testimonials where they share their thoughts on mental health, their personal experiences, and the importance of talking about mental health in the workplace.


Robert Nowosielski, Border Services Officer, Northern Ontario Region, on-camera.

Robert Nowosielski: When we look at mental health, we think about wellness as a whole. Personally, I've had my stressors; I'm sure that you have. It's just a regular part of our daily lives.

Hélène Larose, Manager, Employee Assistance Program, Headquarters, on-camera.

Hélène Larose: Statistics demonstrate that 20 percent of Canadians will at one point in their lifetime have a mental illness.

Lisa Janes, A/Director General Border Operations Directorate, Headquarters, on-camera.

Lisa Janes: What we need to do though is we need to create an environment that is a trusting environment, one where a person has the ability to come forward if they're going through a difficult time.

Jenny Trikalinos, Administrative Assistant, Headquarters, on-camera.

Jenny Trikalinos: Here at work, at CBSA, there is the Employee Assistance Program that can help you out. It's confidential, they will help you, they will give you resources, they will tell you what to do. So please don't feel alone.

Darlene Marion, Senior Program Officer, Headquarters, on-camera.

Darlene Marion: I've learned that you don't have to cope without support. There are many people around you who can help, and reaching out and taking that first step is so important.

Mélanie Harbec, Superintendent, Quebec Region, on-camera.

Mélanie Harbec: I would encourage you to talk to someone you trust. It doesn't have to be someone from the EAP; it could be a colleague, a parent, a friend.

Hélène Larose on-camera.

Hélène Larose: Mental illnesses are treatable. There are excellent treatment options which can help fulfill a person's life.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 2016.


Regional Mental Health strategies have also been developed, as well as numerous wellness committees and working groups. Managers and union representatives across Canada have actively promoted wellbeing in the workplace. We want to create an environment that promotes psychological health and safety, one that is a safe space for respectful and open dialogue.

In the same year, the CBSA's Prairie Region implemented the Guarding Minds at Work survey (GM@W) as a pilot for the Agency. The survey is an anonymous and confidential tool to assist organizations in addressing psychological health and safety in the workplace. Organizing the launch included conducting consultations with key stakeholders such as the regional management team, regional communications, regional Customs and Immigration Union Branch executives and the CBSA headquarters wellness team. The survey assessed the current status of organizational health in the Prairie Region. The survey ended in October 2016, with a 71% participation rate. With the focus now shifting to improving areas of concern via a regional action plan, further collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders and employees will take place. Open communication continues to be ongoing, with all results available to employees on the regional intranet page.

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