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Empowering employees to make healthy choices - Workplace wellness programs


Release Date: 09/12/2017
Source: Health Literacy
Staff Reference: Joan Weir

Published in the National Post's "Health Literacy" supplement

By Joan Weir, Director of Health and Disability Policy, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association

Of the array of benefits an employer may choose to offer to their employees, a well-developed workplace wellness program can have a large impact on helping employees make healthy choices.

While various programs have been available for many years, why is it important for employers to provide innovative and effective wellness programs now?

The Public Health Agency of Canada published a 2017 report, Against the Growing Burden of Disease, that indicates 3 out of 5 Canadians older than 20 have a chronic disease, and rates of incidence are increasing by 14 percent each year.

As we age, our waistlines expand and our incidence of disease increases, and the demand for workplace programs aimed directly at our health needs increases. In addition to physical concerns, stress and other mental health issues in the workplace have grown at an alarming rate. Helping employees cope with stressors at work, through physical activities such as yoga or by providing confidential access to counsellors, serves to improve overall health.

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