Imagine getting six extra vacation days a year for being a non-smoker. Not only would you benefit by reducing the risks of cancer and heart disease but, if you are employed by a certain Japanese company, you are given these paid days to enjoy however you desire. Does this work for you? Not only are the benefits of being a non-smoker skyrocketing but wellness programs are too. Except in Canada.
The number of employers designing and implementing wellness programs continues to increase globally, yet Canadian companies are lagging behind. Why is this? Part of the reason for the lag is that Canadian companies are not as affected by healthcare costs compared to their U.S. counterparts. All too often this results in management failing to recognize employee health as an employer responsibility. Based on the 2014 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, 50% of Canadian employees had at least one chronic condition, and unmanaged chronic disease is the biggest cost driver for employers. Considering that we spend more than half of our waking hours at work, Canadian employers are well positioned to improve population health.