Psychological Safety Blog

Psychological Safety Blog

COVID-19 has arrived in Canada and we are in uncertain times.

To help leaders and their employees face the challenges ahead, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) and HowattHR have launched this Psychological Safety Blog. It will be a trusted source for information, tools and resources to help leaders protect the health, safety and wellness of their people.

At this time, when individuals are being asked to practice social distancing, and organizations are implementing corporate isolation to limit the spread of COVID-19, these blog posts will focus on promoting mental health and preventing mental harms.

The goal of this series is to address perceived isolation barriers that if not addressed, can have a negative impact on employees' mental health and psychological safety.

We invite you to comment, share and ask questions, but remind you that discussions will be monitored.

We encourage you to check back often for updates and new resources.


Please be advised that this blog is not intended to provide information about COVID-19. For updates on the virus, we encourage you to visit the following sites:

If you’re not investing in workplace mental health you are putting people at risk and leaving money on the table

By Dr. Bill Howatt and Michel Rodrigue The workplace is not immune to the lasting impacts of the pandemic on employee’s mental health. With the fourth wave of the pandemic underway employees continue to face psychosocial stressors that impact their emotional well-being, including isolation, loneliness, work demand, manager-employee relationships, psychological…

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Do your employees feel relaxed?

This guest post written by Milena Braticevic, PhD Integral Health Psychological safety is becoming one of the main concerns in today’s complex work environment. A recent Workhuman study revealed that 48% of workers have experienced burnout and 61% had elevated stress levels during the pandemic. Considering these statistics, would you…

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Do your employees feel safe speaking up when they disagree, have concerns or want to share new ideas?

By Dr. Bill Howatt The ultimate goal in creating a psychologically safe workplace culture is that employees believe they will not be humiliated, punished, or isolated for speaking up with observations, ideas, questions, and concerns. Psychologically safe leaders understand that they play an essential role in driving this fear out…

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Tips for maintaining respect and safety in your workplace when tensions are running high and opinions differ

By Dr. Bill Howatt A recent Leger poll indicates that 80% of Canadians support vaccine passports in their province. However, the divide between Canadians who support them and the 20% who feel otherwise is growing wider and presenting significant hazards to employees' psychological safety in many workplaces. Vaccine passports went…

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Preparing for uncomfortable conversations

By Dr. Bill Howatt How challenging are uncomfortable, emotionally charged conversations for you? As leaders, we face uncomfortable conversations regularly at work. Whether it’s denying a vacation request, rejecting a schedule change, not approving a professional development request, or ending employment because a position has been eliminated, these conversations can…

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Surviving and Thriving in a Pandemic

Are you familiar with normalcy bias? If the terminology doesn't ring a bell, the behaviours associated with this bias might. In "Overcoming Psychological Obstacles to Beating Coronavirus" author Eric Haseltine, Ph.D. defines it this way, "The normalcy bias, simply put, is people's tendency to discount the risks of a pending…

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The Importance of Leader Self-Care

By Dr. Bill Howatt and Louise Bradley French version: L’importance de l’autoprise en charge de la santé par les dirigeants The Importance of Leader Self-Care To say that COVID has put enormous pressure on leaders would be an understatement. On top of accelerating and amplifying all of the usual business imperatives,…

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How leaders can support employees through different Grief – Loss – Regret experiences

By Dr. Bill Howatt and Louise Bradley The Conference Board of Canada, Mental Health Commission of Canada and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services have partnered to share mental health resources to support employees and leaders coping with the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. French version: Comment les employeurs peuvent soutenir…

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Compassion Fatigue

By Dr. Bill Howatt and Louise Bradley Canada’s health care system is facing unprecedented pressures. That means that the people operating within in it are at higher risk for operational stress injuries typically associated with repeated exposure to trauma. French version: L’usure de compassion If those of us watching the graphic…

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How Do I Prepare for Self-isolation

By Dr. Bill Howatt and Louise Bradley Blog Question: How will I mentally prepare for self-isolation? Many may skip this question because when we think of self-isolating our minds automatically go to physical preparation. Survival basics of food, water and shelter have naturally been the focus as we’ve responded to…

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