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NAV CANADA awarded for innovative workplace mental health program

(Ottawa, February 24, 2015) – At a ceremony today in Vancouver, NAV CANADA was honoured to receive the C.M. Hincks Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

The award is given annually to an outstanding organization or individual that has advanced mental health through their work/volunteer activities in the area of reducing stigma and discrimination, addressing social justice and the social determinants of health, and maintaining and/or improving mental health for all.

NAV CANADA offers a wide range of programs, activities and incentives to support employee health and well-being, including an innovative approach to improving the psychological health of employees. In 2012, it became one of the first private sector companies in Canada to implement a mental health peer support program.

Called “Light the Way”, the program fosters an accepting workplace culture that openly acknowledges the reality of mental health conditions. Pre-screened, trained peer supporters volunteer to share their lived experience with a mental health challenge, provide confidential support to fellow employees who are experiencing similar issues, and explore options with them, in terms of treatments, support systems and resources.

Said Peter Coleridge, CMHA National CEO: “We were extremely impressed with the many workplace mental health initiatives that NAV CANADA provides. One of these which is particularly noteworthy is the Company’s pioneering work around mental health peer support, with significant involvement by employees.

“The ‘Light the Way’ program builds on successful peer support pioneered by NAV CANADA employees in other areas. Peer supporters include managers and employees from across the country and all disciplines, and the program underscores one of their key messages, that mental health impacts us all.”

In accepting the Hincks Award, Richard Dixon, NAV CANADA Vice President and Human Resources Officer, said, “I accept this award on behalf of our over 50 peers who had the courage to share their lived experience with a mental health challenge.”

He added, “It’s time that we employers understand that ‘one-size’ management of mental health issues no longer makes any sense.

“What we need are compassionate, caring workplaces where people can be free to say, ‘I need to talk,’ and know that there is someone non-judgmental who is ready and willing to listen, provide genuine empathy, and help them to explore their options, based on a shared experience.

“Tremendous hope comes from simple words like, ‘You can get through this. I did.’”

Since the mental health peer support program was introduced, the Company has seen declines in short-term and long-term disability associated with mental health absences.

NAV CANADA is the country’s private sector civil air navigation services provider. With operations from coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

For further information, please contact:

John Morris
Director, Communications, Public Affairs and Translation Services
(613) 563-7032

Ron Singer
National Manager, Media Relations
(613) 563-7303

Media Information Line: 1-888-562-8226

Photo Caption: Peter Coleridge (right), the CMHA's National CEO, presented the award to NAV CANADA Vice President and Human Resources Officer Richard Dixon, in honour of our workplace mental health initiatives especially the Light the Way Peer Support Program.