New study: Significant regional differences in employee health

    Quebeckers seek more help for stress, Albertans for addiction and
    Maritimers for credit and gambling issues

    CALGARY, June 29 /CNW/ - A new study by Shepell-fgi has found the health
of Canadians is as diverse as the economic and social makeup of the nation.
The latest study by the Shepell-fgi Research Group examines Employee
Assistance Programs accessed by 150,000 Canadians in over 1000 companies
between 2003-2006.
    "Every region of Canada has a very unique employee health profile," said
Rod Phillips, President and CEO of Shepell-fgi. "While Quebeckers have healthy
relationships but more stress, Albertans are having issues around addiction
and Maritimers around credit and gambling."
    The study also clearly shows substantial differences between large
business centres like Montreal and Toronto. Employees and their families in
Montreal were far more likely to report depression or anxiety issues, with
rates 12 per cent higher than Toronto.
    "It's really important that companies take a close look at where their
employees are based," said Karen Seward, Senior Vice President of Business
Development and Marketing. "Mental health issues are a leading cause of
absenteeism, and unscheduled absences make up about four per cent of a
company's payroll. The people seeking these services are looking to play an
active role in their health; employers should assist them by ensuring they
have the access to the services they need."
    "It's far more cost effective for employers to ensure their workforce is
able to get assistance before disability and disease start driving costs.
We're encouraging employers to take our numbers in this survey, and see if
they translate to their own internal numbers."
    Across Canada, the study also showed high rates of depression in British
Columbia, and a "spill-over" effect in Saskatchewan with Alberta's high
reporting of substance abuse concerns.
    "This study shows conclusively companies can't rely on a "head office"
solution when it comes to the health and productivity of their workforce,"
added Phillips. "Employers need to take into account where their employees
live and the specific stressors to their region and industry. The help and
solutions offered must target the unique needs of the employee and the area
they live in."

    Shepell-fgi is Canada's leading provider of workplace health services,
including prevention-focused Employee Assistance Programs. The company
services over six million employees and their families across Canada, the
United States and internationally. Shepell-fgi helps organizations maintain
healthy employees and healthy workplaces.

    The Shepell-fgi Research group, a division of Shepell-fgi, has a mandate
to educate employers and business leaders on physical, mental and social
health issues as these factors impact employees, their families and their
workplaces. The Shepell-fgi Research Group offers a precise understanding of
health and wellness trends by conducting sector and issue-based analysis.

For further information:

For further information: or an electronic copy of the study, please
contact: Rosalind Robertson, PR and Events Manager, Shepell-fgi,, Phone: (403) 294-0362, Mobile: (416) 558-3117

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