Oct 2022

What PHC is Doing to Create a Healthy Workplace


Did you know that most of us spend over 60% of our waking hours at work? And at the same time, statistics tell us that 70% of working Canadians are concerned about psychological health and safety in the workplace. That is so much time spent in an environment, unable to be at one’s best. In light of it being Healthy Workplace Month, we will be taking October to look at what we are doing at PHC to create a healthy workplace for staff and medical staff.

Work We Are Doing

In 2016, as a means of starting to implement the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) across the organization, PHC chose the following three factors to focus on:

  • Civility & Respect– Where interactions are respectful and considerate.
    • An example of what’s been done at PHC to support the implementation of this factor is Respect at Work
  • Psychological Protection– Where psychological safety is ensured; staff and medical staff feel able to ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose new ideas without fearing negative consequences.
    • Some examples of work that has been done at PHC to support Psychological Protection include:
      • Boosting Psychological Safety (for leaders): Boosting Psychological Safety is a practical training session for leaders designed to help them increase the psychological safety of their teams. For leaders who are interested, please contact Conor MacPhee, Violence Prevention and Wellness Manager, for more information. 
      • PHC No Bully email: A resource for further advice or guidance, or to file a formal complaint of bullying, harassment, micro-aggression, racism or discrimination. All communication is kept confidential (unless/until a formal complaint is filed) phcnobully@providencehealth.bc.ca
      • Adler University (counselling/webinars/group debriefs) Please email Conor for information on how to access a debrief for your group.
  • Protection of Physical Safety– Where there is appropriate action to protect the physical safety of the employees.  
        • An example of the work done is this space includes:
          • Unit-specific Code White training.
          • Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum (PVPC) refresher training for both clinical staff and medical staff.
          • Violence Risk Assessments and reviews.

Our work on the Standard is foundational to the Staff and Medical Staff Wellness Plan, which we will be rolling out to the organization later this year.

Additionally, as part of PHC’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and addressing anti-Indigenous racism, we have developed strategic goals and plans respecting Indigenous Cultural Safety, which include actions and intentions to support our workforce in the safe practice of the work we do.

PHC is committed to being an active champion of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and Indigenous cultural safety (ICS) and will embed seven key guiding principles for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Indigenous Cultural Safety, when considering actions, initiatives and plans for PHC’s Workforce Wellness Strategy.

Laying the Foundation

The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) was developed in 2013 and acts as a blueprint to support organizations in the endeavour to place the same value on psychological health, as it does physical health. It has been found that when the Standard’s 13 factors are present, staff and medical staff feel safe, respected and more engaged in the work they do, and have the potential to positively impact employee mental health, psychological safety, and participation.

It’s important to note that this Standard was developed and introduced at a time when the concepts of Cultural Safety and Humility were still being introduced in British Columbia’s health system in relation to addressing anti-Indigenous racism and colonial harms done to Indigenous Peoples for decades. Since the Standard’s release, there is a growing appreciation for the concept that culture can be a protective factor for people and, when viewed as a strength, it can help in building and maintaining workplace wellness. ​

The Standard outlines 13 factors that contribute to a psychologically safe working environment where employees can perform at their best. To read more on these 13 factors, please visit the Psychological Health & Safety page on connect.  

We were one of the first health organizations to sign The Declaration of Commitment to Psychological Health and Safety in Healthcare. In signing this declaration, PHC demonstrated that we value the psychological health and safety of our staff and medical staff and commit to:

  • Take action in alignment with the principles of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace; Recognize the value of our staff and medical staff’s psychological health and safety and its interdependence with patient safety; and that creating a psychologically safe work environment benefits patients, staff and medical staff; Cultivate a workplace culture that respects our staff and medical staff’s needs including, but not limited to, their psychological health and safety; and, Be leaders and champions for advancing workplace psychological health and safety.

Additionally, in order for organizational culture to be a positive, protective force for staff and medical staff, it is PHC’s responsibility to adopt the concepts of Cultural Safety and Humility. On September 26, 2017, PHC signed a Declaration of Commitment on Cultural Safety and Humility, underpinning this responsibility and demonstrating the organization’s long-term commitment to championing the work required to achieve this vision. Components of this vision includes implementing and sustaining change by embedding cultural safety and humility within PHC services, policies, procedures, leadership development, training, workplans and engagement; facilitating a process where individuals can raise and address problems without fear of reprisal; and encouraging a way to develop and foster better, more balanced relationships, including between PHC staff and medical staff, thereby supporting staff wellness.

Providing the best care to the people we serve is dependent on our own health and wellness. We are working to deliver a comprehensive Staff and Medical Staff Wellness Action Plan, to help us create a healthy and safe work environment where everyone can flourish. If you have a wellness idea that could make a big difference to you and your colleagues, please send it to Ideas: Forward. If you have 2 minutes, we would so value your feedback on current wellness resources.  If you have questions about this plan or feedback on wellness at PHC, please be in touch: missionforward@providencehealth.bc.ca.