As part of CUPE’s Year of Health and Safety, each month a new profile will be published on cupe.ca highlighting the work of CUPE’s health and safety activists, celebrating health and safety victories, and discussing health and safety resources available to members and locals. More information.
Sylvain Beaulieu, a CUPE health and safety advocate, admits he had a difficult childhood. Growing up, Beaulieu says he learned the importance of fighting injustice and defending others. Later in life, he applied these same lessons in his workplace and his union.
Beaulieu works for the Société québécoise des infrastructures and is responsible for the maintenance and repair of heating and cooling systems in the Quebec legislature. Vice-president of CUPE 2929, he is a member of the CUPE Quebec health and safety committee and has also served on the CUPE national committee. As his local’s health and safety representative, he has taken particular interest in mental health issues.
“The employer is very cooperative and transparent,” he said. “It’s part of our goal because working together creates a win-win situation.”
With support from his union and the provincial health and safety committee, Beaulieu investigated how his employer currently handles mental health issues in the workplace and recommended steps to improve procedures. “We want the employer to adopt a specific approach to mental health, focusing on prevention and facilitating members’ reintegration into the workplace,” explained Beaulieu.
“We proposed a type of back-to-work protocol for members following a long absence due to stress or burnout, and it worked. Today I can say that members returning to work receive much better follow-up and support than before.”
For Beaulieu, CUPE’s strength and support has significantly helped his work in health and safety, which in turn has been a real benefit of his fellow members. “Having a union is important, because it balances the power between the employer and the members,” said Beaulieu.
For more resources on mental health, contact your CUPE health and safety representative or check out these links: