Canadian firms shouldn’t follow U.S. lead

Low-tech wellness programs will help attract and retain employees in talent crunch
By Michele Bossi
|CHRR, Report on Healthy Workplaces|Last Updated: 04/18/2008

Wellness programs, which began as a somewhat ambiguous initiative promoting healthy lifestyles, have evolved into a highly sophisticated, technology-driven industry that can help companies improve the bottom line.

A new generation of wellness products can assess the health status of an individual or workforce, identify health risks and provide targeted health education, prevention and disease-management programs. The underlying theory is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Upfront investment in the prevention of disease, or treatment at the early stages, will cost far less than treating an advanced illness down the road.

In the United States, where there’s no public health care and companies are desperate to curb massive health-care costs, companies have embraced these new technologies wholeheartedly. A recent survey by Buck Consultants,