Press Release - Unique new partnership



Unique new partnership


Montreal — March 21, 2022: The Executive Director of Relief - The path of mental health, Jean-Rémy Provost, announced today that the organization will be offering support to SMEs in the area of employee mental health with the Relief for business program for SMEs, in collaboration with the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) whose President and CEO Karl Blackburn is committed to helping SMEs take advantage of the program.

A  February survey conducted at Université Laval by the Relief Research Chair in Mental Health, Self-Management and Work, sponsored by Beneva, with a representative sample of 1,004 SME workers in Quebec and 1,496 workers in Canada, found that 55% of employees report living with a mental health issue—and identified several individual and organizational action areas to target. More information needs to be provided to the parties, i.e., both employers and employees.

a changing world of work

“The world of work has undergone transformation in recent years because of the pandemic, which has exacerbated many mental health issues,” according to Jean-Rémy Provost. “The latest data attests to the scope of the issues and the need to help SMEs prevent difficulties and meet their responsibilities in order to support their employees. Mental health self-management support is a promising way forward in terms of responding to the needs of individuals and businesses, especially in a context of difficulty accessing specialized resources.”

“When an employer values the well-being of their employees, everyone wins. Investing in mental health helps prevent burnout. Workers need to be able to access resources when they need them, especially in a context of greater pressure because of the labour shortage,” said Karl Blackburn, President and CEO of the CPQ.

access challenges

Mental health impacts are an important issue for employers. Over 99% of Canadian businesses are SMEs—and as such, these businesses can play a key role in facilitating workers’ access to support. However, limited financial means can hinder access. According to Simon Coulombe, “Not all companies have an employee assistance program, and beyond assistance programs, the survey results suggest that a variety of other workplace initiatives and programs could be helpful. It’s a sensitive topic and we need to diminish the stigma attached to mental health and strive to enhance workers’ well-being.”

“SMEs need to take the lead in addressing mental health issues within their businesses,” said Jean-Rémy Provost. “They have a duty to foster a safe, healthy work climate and environment that encourages employees to self-manage, in other words, to take care of themselves. Mental health at work is a shared responsibility of employers and employees.”

Thanks to the CPQ-Relief partnership, SMEs will benefit from a 15% discount on the Relief for business program. For more information on the funding assistance program, visit the website. In addition, employers eligible for the workforce training program can obtain financial assistance of up to 50% of eligible expenses by applying to their local Service Québec office. 

the Relief for business Program

The Relief for business program, intended for executives and managers as well as employees, supports SMEs that want to make mental health a priority by breaking down the taboos surrounding mental illness, equipping all members of businesses with helpful tools, and reducing barriers to seeking help. 

about Relief - The path of mental health

Relief is a non-profit organization that has been working with people living with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, as well as their loved ones, for 31 years. Relief also provides support services to businesses and organizations based in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada to help them create healthy, balanced and safe work environments with respect to mental health.

about the CPQ

The Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) represents and upholds the interests of more than 70,000 employers of all sizes from across all activity sectors and regions of Quebec. It engages with public authorities, economic players and public opinion to promote a business environment conducive to prosperity and responsible economic development in North America and the Francophone world.

about the Relief Research Chair in Mental Health, Self-Management and Work - sponsored by Beneva

The Relief Research Chair, attached to Université Laval, is actively involved in research, networking and knowledge mobilization to promote the advancement of scientific knowledge on self-management, mental health and healthy performance at work, as well as how to support these elements. The Chair was made possible thanks to the financial support of Relief and Beneva, which are each contributing $1 million to the Chair over 5 years. 


For information:

Nathalie Roy
Advisor, Media Relations
(514) 849-3622
[email protected]

Victoria Drolet
Senior Advisor – Public and Government Affairs, Conseil du patronat du Québec
(438) 888-3312
[email protected]

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