As the final weekend of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games kicks off, three of Team Canada’s national partners — Canadian Tire Corp., Deloitte and Royal Bank of Canada — are focusing on employee health and wellness by linking their summer campaigns to the global sporting event.

While all three organizations already had annual wellness campaigns in place, they leveraged their partnerships with Team Canada to brand programs that celebrate the country’s Olympians and Paralympians, while raising Olympic Games spirit and promoting healthy lifestyles among employees.

RBC’s overarching wellness theme for 2016 is mental health, so its focus for the summer was Your Mind Matters: Step it Up! “It was all about teaching employees that no matter what your physical fitness level is, the objective was to encourage you to do a little bit more and take it a step further and also educate employees about the mental-health benefits of exercise,” says Andrejka Massicotte, director of Canadian benefits and wellness programs at RBC.

The three-week campaign, which ran from July 4-22, started with participating employees signing up to an online portal, completing a quiz and setting up activity goals they could track online. It partnered with its brand and communications team to drive awareness of its Team Canada sponsorship, tying that into the annual wellness campaign. One element of the campaign was a contest called Step it Up Like an Olympian, a story- and photo-sharing challenge that promoted the Olympics.

“Our RBC Olympians were encouraged to review the photos, comment and encourage them to continue stepping it up like an Olympian,” says Massicotte.

Read: CAA partners with Canadian Olympians for wellness program

An employee survey conducted by Canadian Tire in 2014 showed that 98 per cent of respondents are proud of the organization’s support of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic teams. Leading up to the Games, its employee communications team held a two-week contest in July to send four full-time employees to Rio de Janeiro. “To enter the contest, employees had to submit three short videos that showed their personality, creativity and passion for the Olympics,” says Olga Giovanniello, Canadian Tire’s senior vice-president of human resources.

“The four winning employees are currently traveling around Brazil and attending events with the [Canadian Olympic Committee] and have been asked to share their experiences with colleagues back home. Equipped with a smartphone, the employees are essentially there to have fun and share content while showcasing their dynamic personalities that helped them win our employee contest in the first place.”

Read: Morneau Shepell launches Olympics-themed engagement program

Each of Team Canada’s national partners is paired with a number of Canadian Olympians. Deloitte’s program, Live Like a Champ, features five Olympians — weightlifter George Kobalazde, gymnast Rosie Cossar, kayaker Mark de Jonge and rower Jeremiah Brown — who have been sharing wellness tips with employees on how they maintain their health.

“We’re encouraging [employees] to take some time and do some simple things that look at the various components of what an Olympian has to do. . . . That includes anything from hydration, fuelling their bodies with nutritious food, building up their endurance, increasing their flexibility, and building their overall strength,” says Duncan Sinclair, vice-chair at Deloitte Canada.

Canadian Tire featured a number of Olympic athletes — soccer player Christine Sinclair, fencer Joseph Polossifakis, and Paralympic wheelchair rugby players Dave Willsie and Cody Caldwell — in its 100 Days to Rio kickoff event and Road to Rio athlete workshops.

“These events took place at all of our offices across Canadian Tire Corp. and at our distribution centres from April to July to promote the Games, while giving employees the chance to meet Rio hopefuls,” says Giovanniello of the athlete workshops. “Led by our partner athletes, the events covered the importance of wellness and balancing a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Read: Pokémon Go: Is game a disruption or a wellness tool for employers?

For the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, all of Canadian Tire’s head offices hosted events where employees had the opportunity to meet alumni athletes, try out new Olympic and Paralympic sports, enjoy Brazilian food and pick up Team Canada merchandise. Three athletes — soccer player Melanie Booth, athletics competitor Justyn Warner and Paralympic boccia ball player Adam Dukovich — were present at its Toronto office for an event attended by more than 1,000 employees.

To incorporate its Olympians into its wellness campaign, RBC created videos featuring wheelchair tennis Paralympian Joel Dembe, beach volleyball player Jamie Broder and sprinter Sam Effah. “These videos were key to the campaign. They really engaged and excited employees,” says Massicotte. “The campaign was also featured on our internal RBC Olympic lounge and our wellness site.”

Deloitte Canada has been broadcasting the Olympics in its offices across the country, says Sinclair. It also has a fundraising portal and is encouraging employees to make a voluntary donation during the Olympics to support future Canadian Olympians.

Participation at RBC has been strong, says Massicotte, with more than 16,000 employees getting involved. It also had a leaderboard that tracked the total additional physical activity performed by participants. The numbers amounted to 16 years in total or 529 minutes of extra physical activity per participant over three weeks.

It received 122 photos through its Step Up Like an Olympian challenge with more to come. “We strive to change behaviour,” says Massicotte. “We don’t want them just doing something for three weeks . . . it seems to be happening.”

Read: Employers cite productivity, morale gains among ROI from health programs

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

Join us on Twitter

See all comments Recent Comments


Great site you have here but I was curious about if you
knew of any discussion boards that cover the
same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be
a part of community where I can get responses from other experienced people
that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations,
please let me know. Thank you! latahza

Saturday, January 07 at 5:09 am | Reply

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required