Newly launched Sun Life Wellness Institute partners with Ivey Business School in ground-breaking study on the impact of workplace wellness programs

TORONTO, May 16 /CNW/ - Sun Life Financial today announced the launch of the new Sun Life Wellness Institute™ and a pioneering partnership with the Richard Ivey School of Business to conduct research on the return-on-investment of workplace wellness programs for Canadian employers.

The Sun Life Wellness Institute is a health and wellness knowledge exchange for Canadian employers, providing evidence and insight that will help influence positive outcomes in the overall health and long term well-being of working Canadians.

"Through the Sun Life Wellness Institute, we are pleased to invest in research that is invaluable to Canadian employers, and the health and wellness of their employees," said Senior Vice-President of Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial Canada, Stuart Monteith.  "We hope to highlight the value of health and wellness for employers, employees, and society, and the important role the Sun Life Wellness Institute will play in encouraging Canadians to live healthier lifestyles."

The partnership with the Ivey Business School is the first major study undertaken by the Sun Life Wellness Institute. The research will focus on the expected costs and individual and organizational outcomes of evidence-based workplace wellness programs. This type of multi-year health and wellness study is a first in Canada, and will set the bar for understanding the value of workplace wellness programs across the country.

The increasing number of Canadians' health concerns has more employers considering workplace wellness programs. Although studies have been conducted in other countries and on specific aspects of productivity, this ground-breaking research will provide much needed quantifiable evidence on the impact and benefits of workplace wellness programs on the long-term health and well-being of Canadians.

"With Canadians spending about $192 billion on healthcare each year, it's going to continue to be critical to bring down the costs.  One way to do that is to help Canadians be healthier. We think business can have a positive impact on improving the health of working Canadians. The results of these studies will help Canadian businesses make informed, evidence-based decisions on workplace wellness," said Michael Rouse, Assistant Professor, Richard Ivey School of Business and the Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership.

Through partnerships, alliances, and sponsorships, the Sun Life Wellness Institute will continue to collaborate with academic, scientific, public, and independent institutions to lead research and advocacy in workplace wellness and provide insights from leaders in the field.

In addition to research initiatives, the Sun Life Wellness Institute is establishing an Advisory Council of leaders and key influencers to provide insights, identify opportunities and challenges, share best practices, participate in research activities, and enhance market awareness of workplace health and wellness overall.

The work and findings from the Sun Life Wellness Institute will be available through the website www.sunlife.ca/wellnessinstitute, and will include the following key highlights in 2011:

  • Canadian Health Index - an independent study that profiles the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours of Canadians and their health. The first index was conducted in October 2010 with a coast-to-coast survey of almost 4,000 Canadian adults.

  • Buffett National Wellness survey - an analysis of the status of worksite wellness and health promotion in Canada, administered by Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc.

  • Richard Ivey School of Business research reports - these reports will share findings from the preliminary empirical data review and other key findings, including the return-on-investment results.

The Sun Life Wellness Institute is a part of Sun Life's overall health and wellness program, which will include a number of initiatives throughout the year designed to provide health and wellness information to Canadians. It is also an integral part of an enterprise-wide thought leadership program being initiated by Sun Life to improve the financial literacy of Canadians. Sun Life is committed to helping people understand the interaction between health and wealth, enabling people to take action and make decisions to achieve optimal balance throughout their lives.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2011, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $469 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars.

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

For further information:

Media Relations contact:
Krista Wilson
Manager, Media and Public Relations
Sun Life Financial Canada
Tel: 519-888-3900 ext. 4896
krista.wilson@sunlife.com


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