Today, the President of the Treasury Board issued the following message to public servants about mental health, following the recently published 2020 Public Service Employee Survey results:
Just over a year ago, our daily routines were turned upside down. From one day to the next, many started teleworking while others continued serving Canadians on the front lines. We were facing the unknown. But, as public servants, you did not hesitate to deal with the many challenges and obstacles related to the pandemic. You delivered the goods so that Canadians could get the programs and services they needed to get through this pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has entered its second year, many of us have seen its effects on our physical and mental well-being. I would like to take this opportunity to say that we understand the toll this reality has taken on your mental health and that of your friends and families.
The recently released results of the 2020 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) reflect this reality. They point to higher stress levels among public servants due to the emotional toll and increased workloads caused by the pandemic. At the same time, I am encouraged that the results prove that supportive leadership, good communication and enhanced flexibility helped to maintain employees’ overall mental health. It can be difficult to find a work-life balance as we face the challenges of working from home while working hard to protect our loved ones and Canadians from the effects of this pandemic.
I would like to emphasize the importance of public service leaders continuing to create a safe and welcoming environment for their employees to talk confidently about their mental health and get the help they need. I would also like to remind everyone that departmental employee assistance programs are always there for support.
Over the past year, we have faced considerable challenges, both collectively and individually. To meet these challenges, we have fortunately been able to rely on a public service whose level of professionalism is recognized as one of the highest in the world. Over the past year, it has served our citizens when they needed it most. Members of the public service can be proud of the work they have done. As we look forward to better days ahead and to turning an important page in this pandemic, I want to assure you that we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure that public servants have all the mental health supports they need.– Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board, May 27, 2021