Toronto—Organizations in Atlantic Canada are more likely to offer workplace wellness programs, according to a new survey.
The 2009 national wellness survey by Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc. shows more than 96 percent of respondents in Atlantic Canada offer the programs.
"Wellness programs are even more important during difficult economic times, like the one Canada is currently experiencing,” said Ed Buffett, president and CEO of Buffett & Company.
"Research indicates that even employees who keep their jobs are under increased stress, which has a significant impact on their health and the health of the organization."
The survey also found health risks in Atlantic Canada differ from the rest of the country. The top health risk cited by respondents was work-related stress, and this was also the top concern nationally.
But obesity was ranked as the second concern, with more than 57 per cent of respondents in Atlantic Canada identifying it as an issue. Nationally, obesity ranked at number seven, with 39 percent of respondents saying it’s a health risk.
Smoking was identified as the third-highest health risk (53.6 percent of Atlantic respondents), while nationally, it ranked in the fifth spot. Poor nutrition came in as the 5th biggest health risk in Atlantic Canada, compared to 10th for the whole country.
Despite the fact Altantic Canada has the highest percentage of employers offering wellness initiatives, the programs in all regions aren’t necessarily targeting the right issues, according to the company.
"Results of the survey are encouraging, particularly in Atlantic Canada, but frankly it is still only a minority of organizations that are offering strategic, robust wellness programming," adds Buffett.
The survey, sponsored by Pfizer Inc. and Sun Life Financial is conducted every three years. In 2009 responses were gathered from 634 organizations. The report was released to coincide with Canada’s Healthy Workplace month (October 5 to November 1).