Sun Life partners with Richard Ivey School of Business for wellness study

Focus on expected costs, ROI of programs
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/19/2011

Sun Life Financial is partnering with the Richard Ivey School of Business to conduct research on the return-on-investment of workplace wellness programs for Canadian employers.

The partnership is the first major study undertaken by the Sun Life Wellness Institute and will focus on the expected costs and individual and organizational outcomes of evidence-based workplace wellness programs.

"Through the Sun Life Wellness Institute, we are pleased to invest in research that is invaluable to Canadian employers and the health and wellness of their employees," said Stuart Monteith, senior vice-president of group benefits at Sun Life Financial Canada. "We hope to highlight the value of health and wellness for employers, employees and society."

Although studies have been conducted in other countries, this research will provide quantifiable evidence on the impact and benefits of workplace wellness programs on the long-term health and well-being of Canadians, said Sun Life.

"With Canadians spending about $192 billion on health care each year, it's going to continue to be critical to bring down the costs,” said Michael Rouse, an assistant professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. “The results of these studies will help Canadian businesses make informed, evidence-based decisions on workplace wellness.”

Highlights of the institute’s work and findings in 2011 include:

• Canadian Health Index: An independent study that profiles the attitudes, perceptions and behaviours of Canadians and their health. The first index was conducted in October 2010 with a coast-to-coast survey of almost 4,000 Canadian adults.

• Buffett National Wellness survey: An analysis of the status of worksite wellness and health promotion in Canada, administered by Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness.

• Richard Ivey School of Business research reports: These reports will share findings from the preliminary empirical data review and other key findings, including the return-on-investment results.

The Sun Life Wellness Institute is also establishing an advisory council of leaders and key influencers to provide insights, identify opportunities and challenges, share best practices, participate in research activities and enhance market awareness of workplace health and wellness overall.

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