Wellness Through a Diversity Lens

Initiatives focused on mental or physical health should be catered to employees with an eye towards diversity and equity

Simone Reitzes, Vice-President of global pension and benefits, Scotiabank

It’s not news to declare that diversity matters to Canadian businesses, especially in a year where anti-racism protests have taken centre stage. But what’s rarely discussed is that within a company’s wellness programs, diversity and inclusionary practices have to be prioritized since they are so integral to the overall well-being of a multicultural and diverse workforce. 

For instance, earlier this year a Black female employee at Scotiabank told HR that their employee assistance program (EAP) did not have a key resource she needed: a Black counselor to assist with mental health issues. “She wanted to talk to someone with the same lived experience she has gone through,” says Simone Reitzes, Vice-President of global pension and benefits at Scotiabank. “So, we worked with our partners to ensure we add targets to our service-level agreements with them.”

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Written By

David is a freelance journalist, editor, writing coach, workshop facilitator, spoken word poet, and former artistic director of Toronto Poetry Slam. I’ve been published in dozens of publications such as The Washington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star, BBC News, Business Insider, Vice, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, and many more.

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