A more robust disability management system will emphasize prevention and rehabilitation and will also include enhanced support for current and emerging health issues like mental illness, which was not adequately recognized 40 years ago but now represents more than half of all disability claims in the Canadian workplace.
"Our Government is working to actively support a healthier workplace, which in turn is a more productive workplace," added Minister Clement
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ENHANCING WORKPLACE WELLNESS AND PRODUCTIVITY
The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the wellness and well-being of its employees because workplace wellness and enhanced productivity go hand in hand. Workplace well-being generates higher levels of employee engagement which leads to higher-performing organizations.
The Government of Canada's current disability management system suffers from serious shortcomings, including large gaps in coverage and a lack of effective case management and rehabilitation to ensure a timely return to work. The federal government is among the few employers that do not offer short-term disability coverage for its employees (87% of Canadian employers do). At the same time, the long-term disability program, which has remained virtually unchanged since being introduced in 1970, is fragmented and outdated.
Under the current system, federal employees must rely on banked sick leave for short-term illness until long term disability coverage begins at 13 weeks. Almost 60% of employees in the public service however, lack sufficient sick leave to take them through the 13 week period. An inefficient way of managing the Government's human resources, it is also unfair to employees as it disproportionately benefits those with more years in the public service.
The Government of Canada plans to modernize this outmoded and inefficient disability management system in order to provide seamless coverage and active case management. The Government plans to introduce, for the first time, a short-term disability program to support employees through illness while the long-term program will be overhauled and integrated with the short-term disability program.
A revamped plan would strengthen support for ill and injured employees, including addressing new and emerging illness like mental health, which today represent more than half of all disability claims among employed Canadians. Active case management will tackle high rates of absenteeism in the public service, ensuring a timely return to work and improved productivity.
This is a multi-year initiative which will require, in consultation with bargaining agents, designing and tendering a new short term disability plan and the re-tendering of the existing long-term disability plan.
This initiative is part of the Government's Economic Action Plan 2013 commitment to reform the public service, encourage greater productivity and ensure Canadians are receiving efficient and affordable service for their tax dollars. This initiative follows on a recent announcement to introduce a rigorous new tracking system for employee performance that looks to encourage good workers and deal decisively with poor performers.
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for FedNor
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
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