Canadian organizations at different stages in development of health and
wellness programs

OTTAWA, March 15 /CNW Telbec/ - A large majority of Canadian organizations surveyed by The Conference Board of Canada take the overall health of their employees into consideration in the design of their benefit programs. However, only about one-quarter of respondents feel that their organization has developed a comprehensive wellness strategy, and one-in-ten have not done so at all.

"During tough economic times, organizations face pressure to make cuts to programs viewed as non-essential. Often, workplace health and wellness initiatives are among the first to be cut. However, it is in these turbulent times, where stress is high and employee morale is a concern, that workplace health and wellness initiatives are needed most," said Karla Thorpe, Associate Director, Compensation and Industrial Relations.

"Canadian organizations are at different stages when it comes to workplace health and wellness. Some struggle with implementing health and wellness initiatives, while others have successfully integrated health and wellness into their overall corporate strategy and identity. The leading-edge organizations are also making issues such as mental health and presenteeism priorities in their health and wellness strategy."

This report, Beyond Benefits: Creating a Culture of Health and Wellness in Canadian Organizations, discusses the link between workplace health and wellness programs, employee health and greater organizational health and features case studies of Canadian organizations that have implemented innovative health and wellness practices. These include:

    -   BC Hydro, British Columbia
    -   Lighthouse Publishing, Nova Scotia
    -   Pfizer Canada, Quebec
    -   TELUS, British Columbia
    -   The City of Calgary, Alberta
    -   The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario, Ontario
    -   UBC Okanagan, British Columbia

The report also includes tips to help employers that are looking to either develop or improve their workplace health and wellness strategies. For example, the report highlights how organizations can move forward by starting small-focusing on the fundamentals before expanding their programs.

This report is part of a series that contains data collected from The Conference Board of Canada's inaugural survey of 255 Canadian organizations' employer-sponsored benefit programs. Additional information on extended health-care plans, dental plans, life and accident plans, and paid time off can be found in the recently released report, Benefits Benchmarking 2009: Balancing Competitiveness and Costs. The third report in this series will focus on the subject of disability plans and casual absences, and will be released in spring 2010.

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information: For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: (613) 526-3090 ext. 448, E-mail:

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