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Algoma Steel lauded for mental health initiatives

Sault steelmaker mandating mental health training for employees
Algoma Steel is being recognized for including mental health education in its health and safety training. (Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday)

Algoma Steel is being recognized for its efforts to promote mental health in the workplace.

On June 5, the Sault Ste. Marie branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) will acknowledge the Sault steelmaker for including a mental health component in its health and safety training.

Starting this year, each Algoma Steel employee is provided with a mandatory, two-hour mental health training session.

To date, close to 1,000 employees have been trained, and the company is aiming to train all 3,000 of its employees by year’s end.

The mental health training was included as part of the collective agreement with United Steelworkers Local 2251, which represents the company’s employees.

“Without compromise, Algoma Steel is committed to the health and safety of its employees,” Algoma Steel CEO Mike McQuade said in a news release.

“By working with CMHA, we have been able to raise the level of understanding and acceptance across our workforce that mental health is just as important as physical health.”

The CMHA said, so far, the feedback from employees has been positive.

“Mental health promotion is guided by a commitment to helping all people enjoy life, deal with challenges, improve emotional and spiritual wellbeing and build social connections. It builds cohesive communities and supports the cultivation of mentally healthy workplaces,” said Lisa Carricato, a CMHA mental health educator and training provider in Sault Ste. Marie.

“If implemented effectively, evaluated regularly and sustained, mental health promotion has the potential to reduce mental illness and mental health expenditures.”

In operation since 1901, Algoma Steel is a fully integrated steel producer manufacturing and selling hot and cold rolled steel products, including sheet and plate.