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Keynote Presentations

Merv Gilbert PhD, RPsych
Adjunct Professor with the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction and Principal Partner, Psych Health + Safety

Taking Action to Improve Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

More and more employers recognize the legal, financial and practical need to effectively address workplace psychological health and safety but are unsure where to start. Is their organization ready to change? What resources will they need? How will they know if their actions are effective? This session will provide an overview of Psychological Health and Safety: An Action Guide for Employers. The Guide is one of the key resources identified in the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The session will take participants through a strategic, sequential planning process that will include identification of practical, evidence –informed actions that are readily accessible to all employers, regardless of size or sector. This event will be of interest to health professionals, human resource practitioners, health and safety experts, employers, organized labour and employee representatives.

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Access the resource Psychological Health and Safety: An Action Guide for Employers
  • Define the business case and determine organizational readiness
  • Discuss and develop an action plan for your organization
  • Establish an evaluation framework to assess program success


Kate Cavanagh PhD      
Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Sussex, UK

Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapies: Turning On, Tuning In, and (not) Dropping Out

The evidence base for computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CCBT) is expanding rapidly. Recent reviews and meta-analyses have produced promising findings regards to CCBT in terms of effectiveness and acceptability. This presentation will introduce computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CCBT) within its international context. Excerpts from empirically supported CCBT programs will be demonstrated and the evidence base for CCBT evaluated.

Following the presentation, participants will be able to: 

  • Discuss examples of CCBT in practice at the individual case and service level
  • Consider the advantages and limitations of using CCBT resources including availability, acceptability and flexibility
  • Examine challenges for the implementation and optimisation of CCBT in routine care
  • Identify good practice guidelines for individual practitioners and healthcare organizations for improving uptake, engagement and completion of CCBT programs to enhance sustainable user benefits
  • Explore future directions for research and practice 

Plenary Presentations  

Heinrich Beukes BTech (EH), N.Dip (PH), CRSP
Director, Safety and Prevention, Workplace Health - Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Can a healthy safety culture be seen as a primer for organizational learning and organizational psychological mental health?

Research investigating factors influencing organizational safety culture, effective safety management and organizational learning is increasing. In 2013, the Canadian Safety Association (CSA) launched a new standard, Psychological health and safety in the workplace - Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation. This presentation will review different perspectives on safety culture and discuss factors that influence safety culture from what is known from research and reflecting on personal observations and experience gained over a career of 25 years in several industries and continents. The presentation will compare factors that enhance workplace safety, with factors that support  organizational learning and  psychological health and safety in the workplace.   Is healthy safety culture a primer or antecedent for organizational learning and psychologically healthy workplaces? Understanding and identifying gaps in organizational learning, safety culture, and psychological mental health will assist occupational health and safety professionals and other stakeholders create better targeted implementation strategies to improve business performance and mitigate unnecessary disability.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what is meant by “a safety culture,” “a learning organization” and “organizational psychological health”
  • Become aware of the potential overlap of the factors influencing them
  • Become aware of characteristics of organizations with a healthy safety culture
  • Consider a healthy safety culture as a primer for organizational learning and organizational psychological health 


Dan Bilsker PhD

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

An evaluation framework for improving psychological health in organizations

Organizations implementing programs to more effectively address psychological health and safety are aware of the importance of evaluating such initiatives, but may not have the internal expertise or resources to carry out sophisticated, research-quality evaluation. In this presentation, I will highlight a pragmatic framework for planning initiatives, monitoring their implementation and evaluating key outcomes. The presentation will walk through the steps of evaluation: Evaluating and selecting actions, Stating evaluation questions, Identifying key participants, Specifying short and long-term outcomes, Adopting practical evaluation methods, Measuring the implementation process and Monitoring sustainment of change. I will incorporate experience gained by our research group in the process of assisting organizations to evaluate psychosocial risk and implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety. Our research group is committed to the principle that organizations can feasibly use systematic evaluation approaches to improve programs and thus the psychological health and safety of their workforce.   

Following the presentation, participants will:

  • Be familiar with a pragmatic framework for evaluating organizational initiatives for psychological health and safety.
  • Know how other organizations have evaluated such initiatives.
  • Have tools for pragmatically evaluating psychological health and safety initiatives.


Kate Cavanagh PhD 
Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Sussex, UK

Mindfulness based interventions for healthcare professionals: A systematic review and meta-analysis

The demanding nature of working in healthcare settings confers a particular vulnerability to stress, anxiety and depression among healthcare practitioners, which has been shown to impair employee performance and to contribute to staff sickness absence. There is evidently a need for effective interventions to enhance the psychological wellbeing of health care professionals. Dr. Kavanagh will present findings arising from a meta- analysis of studies that have examined the psychological benefits of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for healthcare practitioners.   

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:  

  • Understand the basic principles of mindfulness
  • Describe how mindfulness based interventions work in practice
  • Discuss the evidence base for mindfulness based interventions in a range of contexts
  • Consider the specific benefits and challenges of implementing mindfulness based interventions for healthcare professionals
  • Explore future directions for research and practice         

Yvone Defreitas, CHRP
Manager, Human Resources, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

CCOHS Journey to Date - Adopting the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

In January 2013, Canada launched the world’s first National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Psychological health and safety is embedded in the way people interact with one another on a daily basis; the working conditions; management practices; and the way decisions are made organizationally and how they are communicated as well. This voluntary Standard is commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada which sets a new, higher standard of care for employers and a new higher standard
of conduct for all of us in the workplace.

Join CCOHS’ Manager of Human Resources, Yvone Defreitas, as she takes you through the CCOHS Journey “to date”, including the background, resources and lessons learned along this spectrum of fundamental leadership and organizational change.

Learning Outcomes:   

  • To understand the nature and impact of the voluntary Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace from the Canadian Standards Association/CSA and BNQ. 
  • How Mental Health @ Work surveys plus pre-survey baseline data form the foundation for workplace tools and resources you will need to use in future
  • What types of Mental Health @ Work actions may be taken and how your organization can continuously improve and reflect on related outcomes 


Susan Dixon
Manager, Knowledge Transfer, Research Services, WorkSafeBC

Toward a respectful workplace: WorkSafeBC's resources for preventing and addressing workplace bullying and harassment

Bullying and harassment is an issue of growing concern. Historically, occupational health and safety policies have focused on promoting and maintaining physical health at work. New initiatives are broadening OHS to draw attention to the importance of building psychologically healthy workplaces as well.

This presentation will give participants a clearer understanding of:    

  • WorkSafeBC's Occupational Health and Safety policies regarding workplace bullying and harassment
  • the difference between mental health disorder claims and bullying and harassment complaints
  • what is and what is not covered under the definition of workplace bullying and harassment
  • the duties of employers, supervisors, and workers with regard to workplace bullying and harassment
  • WorkSafeBC's online tool kit, aimed at providing practical resources to help workplace parties to meet their legal duties under the Workers' Compensation Act


Celina Dunn MD

Enhancing Physicians’ Knowledge and Skills on SAW/RTW, Disability Prevention and Management – Results of a Pilot Education Project

Work is an important social determinant of health. Family physicians can play an important role in facilitating patients’ work participation following an injury or as part of living well with chronic health condition(s). The physician education program is a pilot project developed by UBC Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) in partnership with the BC Collaborative for Disability Prevention. The pilot project was funded by WorkSafeBC. This presentation provides an insight into barriers physicians face with managing patients who have experienced an interruption in their work participation and a BC initiative to address these barriers.


Anne Harvey   
VP, Employee Engagement, Vancouver Coastal Health (Full Bio)

A Systems Approach to enhancing and promoting workplace mental health in a large healthcare facility

Vancouver Coastal Health has responded to both the increase in mental health cases and WorkSafeBC's new mental health claims legislation by launching a major new initiative to reduce bullying and disrespectful behaviour. The initiative is being piloted in the operating rooms in the province’s largest hospital where a stressful work environment and disrespect have existed for many years.

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss what action steps Vancouver Coastal Health undertook at different levels within their organization to enhance and promote workplace mental health in a large healthcare facility.
  • Describe components of the evaluation framework used to assess the impact of their multi-level intervention program


Nathalie Jauvin PhD
Researcher, RIPOST - Recherches sur les interrelations personnelles, organizationnelles et sociales du travail 

Preventing Interpersonal Violence in the Workplace 

Preventing interpersonal violence in the workplace represents a significant challenge for organizations wishing to create and maintain healthy workplaces. Over a period of ten years, their team conducted a large study on interpersonal violence in Quebec (Canada). During the last phases this project, they conducted a study involving the evaluation of a participatory intervention aimed at preventing workplace bullying and acting on violence at work at the level of primary prevention. The study led to the creation of web-based resources and tools to highlight the best practices and share implementation and evaluation tools. The tools allow practitioners to conduct and evaluate, within their institution, a primary prevention intervention using a rigorous and systematic prevention process, access to practical instruments and forms ready for organization use, and evidence-informed educational information that discusses the advantage of implementing a primary intervention program to prevent interpersonal violence in the workplace. Dr. Jauvin will also discuss the process they have used to disseminate research results in Quebec and elsewhere, and will showcase the tools and resources available.

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:   

  • Persuasively discuss and justify the importance to implementing policies and practices to prevent violence at work
  • Access credible evidence-informed online resources and toolkit to facilitate a five step approach to planning and program implementation
  • To create a prevention plan adapted to your organization
  • Describe common challenges to the implementation of a prevention plan
  • Reflect on the importance of the participatory process in facilitating organizational change


Dave Keen   
Executive Director, Workplace Health, Fraser Health & Workplace Health Call Centre

Data in…Data out: Showcasing WHITE™ DM Charting and Evaluation System to Facilitate Comprehensive DM Reporting through the use of a provincial Call Centre reporting system

The Workplace Health Indicator Tracking and Evaluation (WHITE™) database is a secure, web-based system that centralizes information on incident tracking and disability case management for the BC Health Authorities. Incident management, claim management and disability management modules facilitate data collection of both occupational and non-occupational injury/illness information. All case management documentation in maintained in this electronic database. The comprehensive data tracking through fielded data points housed within the WHITE™ system facilitates extensive reporting out of disability related information. Data dictionaries and provincially standardized charting guidelines facilitate consistent and accurate data capture. 

Aims and Learning Objectives: 

  • To showcase a comprehensive Disability Management (DM) tracking and evaluation system that could be used as a template for DM database development.
  • To outline some of the essential DM outcome measurements for an employer-based DM program.
  • To highlight operational and organizational DM reports.


Jennifer Leyen, MEd, BA
Director, Special Care Services & Disability Awards, Worker and Employer Services, WorkSafeBC

Disability prevention: A provincial imperative 

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe national and international trends and approaches to compensating mental stress
  • Understand key changes to entitlement for mental stress under the BC Workers Compensation Act
  • Have an awareness of the adjudication and case management practices in place in BC
  • Gain insight into the provincial perspective on the population trends / claims across sectors


Pierre Nadeau      
Respectful Workplace Specialist, Proactive ReSolutions

Critical Ideas for the Psychologically Healthy Workplace: Conflict, Emotion, Incidents, & Behavior

The challenges of the contemporary workplace are routinely expressed by reference to complex, overlapping ideas: harassment, bullying, unfairness, personality conflict, blame, and responsibility, to name but a few. This confusing landscape of ideas can make difficult workplace situations even more difficult to address, rather than easier.

This session introduces a clear, practical framework for engaging with others about these ideas. Using this framework, organizations and individuals can identify effective strategies to both deal with difficult situations, and enhance psychological health in the workplace.

After completing this session, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the continuum of inter-related workplace behaviors that impede psychological health
  • Identify “behaviors” versus “labels”
  • Identify “incidents” versus “issues”
  • Identify “conflicts” versus “disputes”
  • Apply a decision-based theory of behavior in supporting psychological health in the workplace


Implementing effective workplace interventions: Learning from current research

This series of brief research reports discusses the findings of two major syntheses of research literature over the past 10 years to identify (i) workplace and worker factors that increase the risk of work absence, and (ii) what can we learn about workplace interventions that reduce work absence, work productivity and financial outcomes.

  1. Izabela Schultz, PhD
    Professor, Rehabilitation counseling psychology
    Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education
    University of British Columbia

    What factors contribute to work absence across health conditions
    and sectors?   

  2. Shannon Wagner PhD, R. Psych         
    Professor and Chair
    School of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Social and Health Sciences
    University of Northern British Columbia

    Corrine Koehn PhD, R.Psych
    Associate Professor and MEd (Counselling) Coordinator
    School of Education, College of Arts and Social and Health Sciences
    University of Northern British Columbia 

    Workplace mental health interventions that improve
    psychological health and social support

  3. Kelly Williams-Whitt PhD
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Management
    University of Lethbridge

    Does changing job demands and job control impact work absence, work
    productivity or financial outcomes? 


Last Modified: 3/17/2017 11:05 AM