The mental health of mining and forestry workers in Northern Ontario is getting a huge investment from the provincial government.
Ontario has invested $1.7 million to support Workplace Safety North (WSN) to help develop and deliver mental health training and resources for workers in those sectors.
"Our government stands shoulder to shoulder with mining and forestry workers across the north,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “We know these critical workers face unique challenges, including long hours and irregular work schedules. That is exactly why it is so important for our government to make mental health supports more accessible, so these workers can get the help they need 24 hours a day.”
Research has shown that workers in the forestry and mining sectors are at higher risk of experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression. A three-step program has been developed to address this that will deliver in-person and online training and improve mental health outcomes for workers in the industry.
Workers will have 24/7 support, including an online portal with mental health tools and free resources and awareness sessions for small businesses.
These services will help reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges so that workers can ask for support when they need it. This is especially important in the mining and forestry sectors, where mental health and psychological concerns can be left unaddressed.
“Our miners and forestry workers operate in challenging environments day-in and day-out to deliver materials that communities across Ontario rely on,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“While these jobs provide rewarding, meaningful careers, we need to acknowledge the mental toll they can take. That is why our government has invested in a comprehensive mental health program with a full suite of supports. Every worker, no matter the profession, needs to know that help is always a phone call away,” McNaughton added.
The investment follows $8 million the province invested to bolster WSN’s Ontario Mine Rescue program, which coordinated the successful rescue of all 39 miners stuck underground in Sudbury this past September.