Letter to Bell on workers’ mental health

Unifor logo


Nikki Moffat
Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President
Corporate Services
BCE and Bell

Dear Ms. Moffat,

In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health with the public. At the time, many people were not openly discussing living with mental illness.

Millions of Canadians, including leading personalities, engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year.

This conversation shines a bright light on the issue across the country, but one place remains that needs to be better illuminated, Bell’s own house.

Workers at Bell, across all units, experience workplace stress, mental health and illness, and workplace culture in vastly different ways. Unifor is deeply connected to workers across Bell and Canada’s telecommunications sector with roughly 26,000 members working at large and small employers across the country. Two-thirds of sectoral membership, approximately 17,500 members work for Bell Canada or one of its subsidiaries, including Bell Aliant, Bell Technical Solutions, Expertech, Bell MTS and Progistix Solutions.

Additionally, Bell Media employs 2,100 Unifor members, which equates to one out of every six Unifor media members overall, making Bell Media the largest Unifor employer in this sector.

For these members, workplace stress and other elements that are within Bell’s control such as job security, management practices and disciplinary procedures have been primary bargaining priorities for many years.

For Bell Let’s Talk Day this year, Unifor asks that the company turn its attention inside, and commit to better resourcing mental health research and data as a first step towards promoting better workplace culture and mental health.

Bell should adopt a data-driven approach, with externally-verified measurements, to set a baseline for mental wellness from which we can improve. This approach must include:

  • a data collecting exercise (i.e. a survey) of the employees of Bell and its subsidiaries such as the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ);
  • the analysis of such data by a qualified expert;
  • the establishment of a plan based on the findings;
  • the delivery of such plan; and
  • a review of the delivery of the plan every 6 months thereafter.

The impact of mental illness on the job security and quality of so many Canadian worker’s lives cannot be addressed through advertising campaigns.

Unifor has a critical concern that all members have access to workplaces which sustain psychologically healthy and safe working conditions. We ask that your company takes immediate steps to ensure this interest is realised.

We look forward to your response.


LANA PAYNE                          LEN POIRIER                                     DANIEL CLOUTIER
National President                  National Secretary-Treasurer          Québec Director