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Corporate Research

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We collaborate with leading corporations to conduct cutting-edge research on real-world topics. Our partnerships enable us to apply academic rigor to corporate challenges, creating innovative solutions that drive industry forward and contribute to scholarly knowledge.

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Our Research Partners

Online wellness programs for individuals with chronic disease

Lead researcher: Dr. Puneeta Tandon, University of Alberta

Our research team at the University of Alberta is evaluating a 12-week online mental wellness program for people living with select chronic diseases. This program has had positive impacts in other chronic disease groups.

The Wellness Program includes:

Breathwork & mindfulness practices
Tips from clinical experts
Movement at 2 different levels
Psychology tips for living well with a chronic disease

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Employees’ perceived psychological health and safety experience during COVID-19 through an inclusion lens

Citation: Lee-Baggley, D. and Howatt, B. (2023). Employees’ perceived psychological health and safety experience during COVID-19 through an inclusion lens. Canadian Standards Association, Toronto, ON.


The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of supporting employees’ psychological well-being. In a recent research study, we examined employers’ responses to the pandemic and actions taken to support employees’ mental health. The current study builds upon the previous research report that evaluated the employer perspective by evaluating the employees’ perspectives. We examined employees’ experiences in the workplace using a diversity and inclusion lens. This employee-focused research offers insights into what employees believe their employers are doing well and what can be improved in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. By examining employer perspectives alongside employee experiences, we identified discrepancies and generated actionable recommendations for employers to improve psychological health and safety in the workplace. CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/ BNQ 9700-803/2013 (R2022) highlights the importance of continuously engaging employees to obtain their insights and feedback on the effectiveness of programs and policies intended to protect and support their mental health. Thus, understanding the employee experience is critical to facilitating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.

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Moral Injury for healthcare workers

Lead researchers: Lorraine Smith-MacDonald, PhD and Suzette Bremault-Phillips, PhD University of Alberta


The purpose of this project was to explore the feasibility and acceptability of an evidence-informed online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based group therapy for MI in HCPs called “Accepting Moral Pain and Suffering for Healthcare Providers” (AMPS-HCP). Although historically related to military personnel and veterans, moral injury became a necessary topic in healthcare providers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moral injury is a trauma syndrome related to transgressing personal morals and values. Results show that the intervention was highly feasible and acceptable to healthcare providers who worked on the frontline during COVID-19. We are currently working to adapt this program for self-guided online platform to increase its scalability.

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Burnout recovery for healthcare leaders

Lead researcher: Dr. Debra Gilin, Saint Mary’s University


Burnout interventions are commonly directed at employees. And while it is important to empower employees to engage in their own self-care, there are also organizational factors that influence burnout. In this study, we tested the effectiveness of an online training program for leaders. The leadership training included skills from clinical and organizational psychology that have been shown to improve outcomes in employees. Training leaders more effectively is an important system-level intervention to help with burnout in employees. Results in three groups of healthcare workers supported the acceptability of the intervention and showed improved outcomes. 

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Research done with the Howatt HR Applied Workplace Research Institute:

Examining the impact of the Hugr Authentic Connections digital mental fitness app on mitigating isolation and loneliness in the workplace

Lead researcher: Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley
Research partners: WSPS Ontario; Johnston Group (Administrators of the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan)


In March 2020, the WSPS CEO was concerned about the path the COVID-19 pandemic was taking. With the rapid onset of lockdowns and remote work becoming the new normal, there was no end in sight for how long the pandemic could disrupt society. The pandemic had a clear impact on risk of isolation and loneliness for employees.  WSPS had over 4 million workers and 170,000 organizations impacted by COVID and not enough technology to scale and support workers’ mental health. Awareness of this prevalent risk and concern about how to address it, resulted in a rapid study to create a digital mental health app to mitigate workers’ risk of isolation and loneliness. With a limited budget and time, WSPS consultants and Territorial, working with Dr. Bill Howatt, took an idea to build a mental health version 1.0 product: the Hugr Authentic Connections app. The purpose of this study was to pilot this app with WSPS customers in a scientific research study led by Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley approved by Saint Mary’s University research ethics board.

The Hugr Authentic Connections app is an innovative, low-cost, sustainable option for addressing workers’ concerns about loneliness and social isolation and providing guidance on creating authentic relationships. The Hugr Authentic Connections app addresses the critically important topics of loneliness and social isolation that were a challenge before the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue during and beyond the pandemic. Loneliness, social isolation, and authentic relationships became even more critical during the pandemic with a high potential to significantly influence employees’ mental health. Furthermore, many potential risks of isolation, such as hybrid and remote work, may continue to be aspects of the workforce long past the pandemic. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Hugr AC app to be an integrative, innovative, scalable solution to support workplace mental health.

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Extended Mental Health Benefits in Canadian Workplaces: Employee And Employer Perspectives

Lead researcher: Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley
Research partners: Canadian Psychological Association,  Mental Health Commission of Canada


Mental health problems are common and costly in the Canadian population, and these needs have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet a lack of mental health resources means that many workers’ mental health needs go unmet. Research and policy have focused more on the public system to promote timely and equitable access to mental health resources. However, two-thirds of Canadian adults have access to extended health plan benefits via their employer with varying degrees of mental health care coverage. Yet little is known about how Canadians make use of extended health plan benefits to meet mental health needs. Furthermore, little is known about the breadth of extended health plan coverage that employers provide to their employees. Given the overall unmet needs for mental health services across the public and private sectors, extended health plan benefits are an important resource for Canadians. This survey sought to better understand the role of extended health plan benefits from both an employer and employee perspective.

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Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: Employer Practices in Response to COVID-19 (Employer responses)

Lead researcher: Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley
Research partners: Canadian Standards Association (CSA)


With the onset of COVID-19 and its impact on the workplace and mental health, employee psychological health and safety became a topic of concern for leaders across all sectors and types of employers. Psychological health and safety in the workplace requires employers to intentionally take action to mitigate employee risk for mental harm and to promote and support employee mental health. CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2013 (R2018), Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation (CAN/CSA-Z1003) was created to guide employers in designing and implementing policies, programs, and management systems to facilitate psychologically safe and healthy workplaces.

The purpose of this research project was to better understand the factors and hazards associated with psychological health and safety in the workplace as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify leading practices, innovative approaches, and lessons learned during the pandemic. This information may help employers better respond to employee needs as the pandemic progresses as well as to other potential future events that dramatically impact the workplace.

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Moving to Action: Implementing the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap

Lead researcher: Dr. Bill Howatt
Research partners: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services and The Conference Board of Canada


Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), in partnership with The Conference Board of Canada developed a Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap. The Roadmap is aligned to the three tenets of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: to prevent mental harm, to promote mental health, and to resolve incidences or conflicts in the workplace. This primer is the first of three publications on the Roadmap’s journey.

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Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap: Research Findings, A search for evidence on the applied benefits of the Roadmap for psychological health and safety facilitators

Lead researcher: Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley
Research partners: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)


The primary goal for year two’s search for evidence was moving the Roadmap from informed evidence to evidence-based. The research design for year two focused on psychological health and safety facilitators (i.e., person/persons accountable for workplace mental health). To be useful, the Roadmap must provide these individuals with knowledge and skills to positively impact workplace mental health. This study explored how exposing psychological health and safety facilitators to the Roadmap improved their self-efficacy (i.e., confidence) for reducing mental harm and promoting mental health within their organizations’ budgets and capacity.

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Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap: Continued search for evidence on the applied benefits of the Roadmap for psychological health and safety facilitators (employee impacts)

Lead researcher: Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley
Research partners: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)


This study builds on previous work including Moving to Action: Implementing Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ (WSPS) Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap (Study 1 above) and a two-year evaluation of nine companies using the Roadmap (Study 2 above). This two-year study found that the Roadmap was a user-friendly tool and that it increased psychological health and safety (PHS) facilitators’ capacity and confidence regarding their PHS initiatives across the nine companies that participated.

The purpose of this study is to conduct a year-3 evaluation of the direct impact of the Roadmap on the employees experience through the lens of psychological health and safety. Given that studies suggest that ROI for mental health initiatives commonly takes 2-3 years to emerge, this study is evaluating the impact on employees 18 -24 months after the employer was first introduced to the Roadmap.

Report Coming Soon