Three-quarters (76 per cent) of benefits plan members agreed the overall culture or environment of their workplace encourages health and wellness, unchanged from 2021 and comparable with previous years, according to the 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey.

The survey found a wellness culture appeared to consistently influence results in other areas, including job satisfaction (91 per cent) and plan members’ positive perceptions of their health benefits plan (84 per cent) and personal health (51 per cent).

Among benefits plan sponsors, the vast majority (87 per cent) agreed their workplace culture or environment encourages health and wellness, down slightly from 90 per cent in 2021 and comparable with previous years.

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“Plan sponsors are taking a more formal approach [to workplace wellness],” said Sunil Hirjee, vice-president of group sales and partner experience for Ontario and Western and Atlantic Canada at Beneva Inc. and an advisory board member, in the report. “Traditionally, wellness initiatives are taken on by social committees, [human resources] teams or sometimes a dedicated wellness person. Now we’re seeing committees with equal representation not only from all departments, but also all regions and all levels of staff. And they’re taking a much more rigorous approach when it comes to launching a program and measuring its uptake and impact.”

In the next three years, 75 per cent of plan sponsor respondents said they anticipate dedicating funds and/or staff resources, outside of the health benefits plan, to support employees in at least one of five areas of wellness, including mental health (46 per cent) physical fitness (32 per cent), prevention of illness and/or management of chronic conditions (30 per cent), social health (28 per cent) and financial health (26 per cent). In 2021, anticipated investments in mental health (51 per cent) far exceeded investments in the prevention of illness/management of chronic conditions (28 per cent).

Employers with a unionized workforce (90 per cent), 500 or more employees (89 per cent) and a flexible benefits plan (87 per cent) were most likely to make these additional allocations.

Read: Survey finds majority of employers planning to invest in workplace wellness