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How Standards can Help Address Jurors’ Mental Health Concerns

By: Candace Sellar
Program Manager, Worker and Public Safety, CSA Group

Serving on a jury can be incredibly stressful, and despite the important role that juries play in our justice system, the stresses they endure and the impact of those stresses on their mental health are not well understood. Awareness of the issue and a solution are needed.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to join my colleague, Doug Morton, Director of Government Relations, in a meeting with Canada’s Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, where we spoke about the value of a standards-based solution for jurors’ mental health. Although CSA Group is not an expert on juror stress, we explained to the committee that CSA Group continues to develop standards related to psychological health and safety in various areas that may inform a future standard for jurors.

Together with the Bureau de Normalisation du Québec, we developed the 2013 standard, Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, Promotion, and Guidance to Staged Implementation. The standard provides a set of voluntary guidelines, tools, and resources intended to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm in the workplace.  It includes information on:

  • identifying psychological hazards;
  • assessing and controlling the risks associated with hazards that cannot be eliminated;
  • implementing practices that support and promote psychological health and safety;
  • growing a culture that promotes psychological health and safety; and
  • implementing systems of measurement and review to ensure sustainability of the overall approach.

The standard has proven to be valuable and applicable to multiple sectors, with total downloads exceeding 42,000. About 21 percent of the people who downloaded the standard work in healthcare, while 20 percent are in the government, judicial, and policing sectors, and 11 percent in education. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is also considering using the standard as a seed document to develop an international psychological health and safety standard.

The standard also provides the foundation to develop more targeted solutions that address specific psychological hazards faced by particular industries and professionals. For example, we worked closely with the paramedic community to develop the Psychological Health and Safety in the Paramedic Service Organization standard, which we will release later this month. It was commissioned by the Paramedic Association of Canada, and funded in part by the Ontario Government’s Occupational Health and Safety Prevention and Innovation Program.

On January 29th of this year, the Bell “Let’s Talk” program, and The Rossy Family Foundation announced a joint donation for the creation of a national standard for post-secondary student mental health, with the objective of supporting student success on campuses across Canada. These organizations have engaged the Mental Health Commission of Canada to lead the project, and CSA Group is currently in discussions with them to apply our accredited standards development process to develop this important new standard.

CSA Group has a rich history of collaborating with government partners and industry stakeholders to create timely, relevant, and impactful standards. For the last 70 years, we have developed and evolved our collection of occupational health & safety standards to support healthy, safe, and productive workplaces and protect the people working in them. As a Program Manager for CSA Group’s Worker and Public Safety Standards Development team, I am proud to be celebrating those achievements and working with stakeholders to offer standards-based solutions that meet the needs of today and tomorrow. Perhaps one of those solutions will help address jurors’ psychological health and safety needs.

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