The high cost of workplace mental health

Canada's oil-and-gas and mining industries are an economic bright spot, their output worth about 4-percent of the GDP. So picture that productivity - four percent of GDP - because that is also what Corporate Canada loses every year to mental illness. Former Federal Finance Minister Michael Wilson weighs in on the need for Bosses and Businesses to confront an illness that we can all see but still treat as invisible.

Part Three of The Current

The high cost of workplace mental health

We started this segment with a clip of Alec Baldwin in the 1992 movie Glenngarry Glen Ross, playing the role of Blake, the sadistic boss from hell who pushes his employees to the brink.

Few of us are afflicted with bosses that ruthless - but plenty of us are feeling the acute effects of stress at work. A new report released this month suggests that mental illness in the Canadian workplace has an annual economic toll of 54 billion dollars. That's equivalent to more than 4 percent of Canada's Gross Domestic Product.

For more on the connections between mental illness and the workplace, we were joined by that report's co-authors. Bill Wilkerson is the co-founder of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health. And Michael Wilson was minister of finance in Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government and a former ambassador to the United States. He is now the Chair of Barclays Capital Canada. Bill Wilkerson and Michael Wilson were both in our Toronto studio.

Related Link:

Last Word - The Story of Stuff

In the days to come on The Current, we'll look at what may be a surprising new trend. A recent British study suggests materialism may be on the decline. Even though the UK economy has grown since 2002, the British consumed less water, fewer building materials, fewer cars and less food.

They even cut back on waste. It may still be too early to tell, but it's possible the industrialized countries have reached a point where they can still expand their economies but use less material to do it.

Annie Leonard may have sensed a change when she produced her film The Story of Stuff. The animated documentary was meant to explain to school kids that the current rate of consumption could not continue -- but that there are alternatives. For today's Last Word, we heard from Annie Leonard.

Other segments from today's show:

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