At the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), we want our work environment to be a place where respect is paramount, where employee well-being is promoted and where there is a safe space for open dialogue. Over the course of the last year, employees across the CBSA found a number of ways to promote wellness in the workplace.
At Headquarters, the Recourse Directorate undertook three wellness-related initiatives. Employees organized a weekly “knitting cluster” as a space to connect with colleagues and management, created a “wall of gratitude” where employees can appreciate their colleagues in a public forum, and formed a “walking group” that takes advantage of the lunch hour to connect with colleagues, as well as get some fresh air and exercise.
Also at Headquarters, the Corporate Planning and Reporting Directorate developed a priority in its 2017-2018 business plan, called Promoting an Agile and Engaged Workforce. In line with this new direction, the Directorate implemented a suggestion box and ensured that exit interviews were being conducted. In the first few months, the Directorate received feedback and suggestions in the areas of training and skills development, employee satisfaction, workplace flexibility, organizational culture and managerial support.
Staff in the Prairie Region committed to supporting a healthy workplace that is supportive and free of stigma. In October 2016, all employees were encouraged to complete the Guarding Minds @ Work survey about stress, job satisfaction, and mental health culture in the workplace. Seventy-one percent of the Prairie Region workforce completed the survey. Later, in early 2017, the region concluded focus group sessions with over 400 employees from all groups and levels. From these combined efforts, an ambitious series of action items was proposed and will be launched in the coming months.
In the Northern Ontario Region, the Sault Ste. Marie port of entry actively promoted individual and corporate wellness by introducing a number of initiatives to reduce stress for both clients and Border Services Officers. For example, a play area was created where children can relax, do arts and crafts or watch fish swim in an aquarium. This gives parents and officers the ability to complete processing more efficiently, reducing stress for the families and CBSA staff alike. The purchase of the aquarium was a joint management and union initiative and is maintained by Wellness Committee members.
The driver for all of these initiatives was to create a positive, welcoming culture in the workspace and to encourage employees to positively influence their workplace culture.
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