Local 417 has received the results of the Survey on Mental Health in our Colleges conducted by the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW). The purpose of conducting this study of members was to gather preliminary data to determine the working conditions of members and to understand if there is a need to work together with Administration and Support Staff to improve the conditions of work.

Stress is a significant Health and Safety concern and the results of the survey bore that out.

2252 faculty from across all 24 Colleges completed the survey. They reported a wide range of experiences of harassment and discrimination, stress and burnout, and a general lack of respect and dignity.

The reported rates of burnout due to workplace stress are very high relative to other Canadian workers. We report that workload expectations are overwhelming and exhausting [burnout was primarily associated with emotional demands and role conflicts]. We perceive that there is a lack of justice and that we are not respected for our work or our expertise [justice & respect was the factor that was lowest among the psychosocial factors measure; lack of recognition was 3rd lowest in comparison to the pre-pandemic reference data.]

Here are some telling statistics:

  • 35% reported moderate to severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, which is more than double the rate reported by StatCan during the second wave of the pandemic.
  • 19% reported a poor to toxic work environment; 18.3% expressed that they are considering leaving the workplace within the next year.
  • 35% expressed that they are very concerned about the workplace environmental conditions, which includes indicators such as work pace, emotional demands, recognition, justice and respect, and work-life balance, among others.
  • 31% had experienced bullying.
  • 19% had experienced discrimination.
  • 4% had experienced sexual harassment.
  • 6% had experienced threats of violence. Overall, the results of the survey paint a picture of workplaces that do not support the psychological and physical well-being of our members.
  • 37% of respondents who work at the worksite, indicated that less than half of their infection control practices needs had been met (i.e., screening, compliance with masking requirements, appropriate distancing, staggering schedules, adjusting the ventilation system).
  • 69% had experienced either new aches/pain or aggravated previous ones related to working from home.
  • 18% of those working from home reported that home responsibilities constantly or often interfered with their ability to get work done, however, over 60% expressed the desire to keep working from home at least 2 or more days per week after the pandemic restrictions are relaxed.

The Local 417 Executive Committee will meet with OHCOW to map out an action plan for carrying out solution-focused work at the Local level. Until then, this data will also be used to inform the discussions with the College to work to build preliminary resolutions and improvements.