Cultivating Culture



Establish an ethics program to support risk reduction and improve client care.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) helps some of our country’s most at-risk citizens: those suffering from mental illness and addiction. CMHA prides itself on meeting the highest standards of quality care in order to best serve clients and to maintain a high-ranking status with Accreditation Canada.

To meet its risk reduction objectives and improve overall care, CMHA identified a need to support staff in making sound, ethical decisions in a timely manner.

“Dialectic really took the time and effort to fully understand the breadth and depth of our organization and the clients we serve.”


Build a cutting-edge ethics program and provide training to aid staff in making effective ethical decisions in the field.

During the assessment phase, we quickly learned that a typical five-step reasoning process was less than ideal for staff working in a sensitive and complex field like mental healthcare. So we built an organization-wide ethics program for CMHA from the ground up. Rooted in contemporary cognitive science research, our program employed a flexible decision-making framework that emphasized self-reflection and principle-based ethical reasoning.

Staff were taught how to use the new program and processes in five engaging one-hour sessions. These live training sessions were supported with ongoing social media-based learning activities, including blogging, the creation of a wiki, and participation in online forums. Learners were assisted in defining their own moral identity and were taught how to apply the ethics framework in a practical setting.


CMHA reported improvements in efficiency and ethical decision-making activities and saw a reduction in risk-related events.

CMHA was successful in achieving full accreditation from Accreditation Canada and is now supported with an innovative ethics framework to enhance business performance and patient care going forward. And because this system was developed to reflect CMHA’s own organizational values and services, these processes are firmly entrenched in their workplace culture.

Cultivating Culture

Anna Tersigni - Risk Manager

“In transforming our culture of ethics, we really wanted a program that was meaningful and authentic to our staff and clients, that supported our existing organizational values, and was based on good solid research and evidence-based practices. Dialectic delivered all of this and more with a ton of passion for helping us achieve our goals.

The reason why our new ethics program has credibility and power is because it is not a rote, step-by-step, narrow decision making process. Rather, it empowers anyone utilizing the tools to think for themselves. This is true capacity building. This skill now serves as the foundation of our culture of ethics. This would not have been possible without Dialectic’s unique approach.

Dialectic really took the time and effort to fully understand the breadth and depth of CMHA WWD and the clients we serve. And their use of scientific tools, studies, and research made us feel confident that we were getting a state-of-the-art ethics program.

We are very proud that we have a ‘Made in CMHA WWD’ ethics program. Thanks Dialectic!”