Throughout 2017, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) continued to promote a respectful, diverse and inclusive workplace that supports safe spaces for open dialogue on mental wellness. The Agency provided employees with a number of self-assessment tools and videos to help recognize the symptoms associated with mental illness and offered a number of actions to move towards a better mental health. The CBSA is in the second year of a three-year action plan to support the implementation of the CBSA Mental Health Strategy. Examples of the strategy at work include the following:
At Headquarters, the Wellness Programs Division hosted a session on “Balance and Relief for Stressful Times” in May 2017. A video, “Move at Your Desk” was produced to present some simple movements and stretches that can be done at one’s workstation to help release tension. The video was launched to employees during Healthy Workplace Month in October.
In the Atlantic Region, three CBSA employees participated in a 26 km hike for the Tema Conter Memorial Trust in support of raising awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Big Hike took place at Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, Nova Scotia and the Agency’s team was the top fundraiser, donating $6,985 to this worthy cause. The event also included a panel discussion on Post-Traumatic Stress and the official launch of the Atlantic Region Mental Health Strategy speaker’s series.
In the Pacific Region, a number of initiatives were launched in an effort to improve mental health and wellness in the workplace. A Mental Wellness Advisory Group (MWAG) was formed and members of the MWAG presented innovative ideas to a panel made up of the CBSA Executive management team, police partners, union executives, and an Employee Assistance Representative (EAP) coordinator. The initiatives support the three pillars identified in the CBSA Mental Health Strategy: prevention, intervention, and support. Awareness sessions were created to help remove Stigmas and Myths through Awareness and Resiliency Together. Short Prime the Pump sessions at ports of entry brought employees, management and union representatives together to focus on a common goal to improve mental health and wellness in the workplace.
The Pacific Region also launched a unique video project in 2017. Inspired by television’s Carpool Karaoke, the Pacific Region’s Carpool Conversations video series featured host Jackie Tse, a Project Manager with the CBSA, in conversation with leaders from around the region. During their car ride, Jackie and guest(s) discussed a range of topics including their role with the Agency, perspectives on leadership, how they practice work/life balance, what they are doing to improve mental health, and advice about career development. To date, a full episode is available on the CBSA internal website and has received positive feedback from colleagues across the country.
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