Among the findings of the 2017 Sanofi Canada health-care survey, published last week, was the surprising decline in interest by employers in offering wellness programs to their staff.

Fewer than a third (31 per cent) of employers said they plan to invest more in health education or wellness programs in the next year — down from 51 per cent in 2012 and 68 per cent in 2011. And the percentage of employees who agreed their organization’s corporate culture encourages health and wellness has dropped in the past five years as well, from 62 per cent in 2012 to 53 per cent in 2017.

Read: Fewer workplace cultures encouraging health and wellness: Sanofi survey

But many employers still put stock in their wellness programs, relaunching them each year with new activities and initiatives. Two Canadian employers — Carproof and Lakeside Process Controls — spoke about their creative approaches to wellness programs at Benefits Canada‘s 2017 Benefits and Pension Summit in Toronto in April. Both companies kicked off their wellness programs with a weight-loss challenge, but this was in 2012 and 2010, respectively. In more recent years, both companies have noted challenges — including the inclusion of employees who work remotely.

Read: Employers take creative approach to wellness programs on ‘shoestring’ budgets

Considering the Sanofi survey’s findings around wellness programs, this week’s online poll asks: Is it time to pull back from focusing on wellness? Have your say here.

Last week’s poll looked at the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s review into employment standards and its proposal that the government consider setting a minimum standard for health benefits to extend coverage to all workplaces. While the government has published its response to the review, it didn’t take forward that particular recommendation, which is in line with readers’ response to the Benefits Canada poll.

More than half (61 per cent) of respondents said such a standard would take government intervention too far and would be an undue burden for employers. But 39 per cent said yes, it’s time to ensure benefits are available to those in more precarious work environments.

Read: Ontario urged to consider minimum standard for health benefits

Read: Ontario’s response to workplace review includes paid personal leave

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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