major contracts – including cleaning the Toronto fleet of Zipcars
– and is poised for expansion. He gives back by hiring people with
a mental health challenge, doing his part to help break the cycle of
stigma, discrimination and unemployment.
“It needs to become more well known that employment can be a
key piece to recovery,” said Knight. “Since it’s difficult to get hired,
creating your own job may be the best alternative.”
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur like Knight,
but people with mental health issues, if given the opportunity
and necessary support, are more than capable of contributing
to the labour market. According to research, mental health
problems and illnesses account for more than $6 billion
annually in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism.
In Canada, there is a cost to Canadian taxpayers of
approximately $9.6 billion per year on disability income support
for mental health related reasons, says the Canada Employment
The MHCC recently funded a research study outlining the
business arguments for hiring, accommodating and supporting
“aspiring workers,” an MHCC term used to describe people who
are unable to enter the workforce, who are in and out of the workforce
due to episodic or persistent illness or who wish to return to
work after a lengthy period away from the job due to mental illness.
The research suggests that employers experience a reduction
in costs when they employ people living with a mental illness. n
Ed Mantler is the vice president of programs and priorities at the
Mental Health Commission of Canada.
ACCORDING TO THE JOB
THE BULK OF PEOPLE WHO
HAVE A DISABILITY DO NOT
REQUIRE SPECIAL WORKPLACE
ammentorp/ 123RF Stock Photo
30 ❚ APRIL 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL