NORTH BAY, ONT.— Workplace Safety North (WSN) is receiving $1.7 million from the Ontario government for the development and delivery of mental health training and resources for mining and forestry workers in northern Ontario.

Mining and forestry were deemed essential services and have been operating throughout the pandemic, states a release, adding many worksite locations are remote work camps or in a northern Ontario region where access to medical care is more difficult than in southern Ontario.

Workplace mental health resources were in the top 10 health and safety resources accessed on last year, including a link to free workplace mental health videos viewed more than 500 times by Ontario employers and workers, said Paul Andre, president and CEO of WSN, in a release.

Funding for WSN’s three-year project is being used to develop and deliver in-person and online training programs for mining and forestry operations. It will include an online portal where workers and employers can access mental health tools and resources 24-7 and free resources and awareness sessions for small businesses.

The program includes a research partnership with the Centre for Research for Occupational Safety and Health based out of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. which will be tracking statistical data to determine the effectiveness of the training and resources.

“Based on the effects of the pandemic on mental health in the workplace and at home, workplace mental health has moved to the forefront of Ontario workplace safety,” said Andre.

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