Market Watch

MANULIFE INSURANCE has expanded its Lifecheque Critical Illness offering, including coverage for more chronic conditions and revised definitions of certain diseases to cover a wider range of related illnesses.

CERIDIAN has launched LifeWorks sleep coaching, giving participants access to certified coaches and research-based information on healthy sleep practices.

STANDARD LIFE and the CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS have launched PrimaPension in Quebec. The initiative aims to help small and mid-size enterprises implement an RRSP, pooled registered pension plan or voluntary retirement savings plan. Employees enrolling in PrimaPension will benefit from life insurance coverage based on their age and the assets in their accounts. PrimaPension will also become available in other provinces, depending on applicable regulations.;

ALBERTA BLUE CROSS has adopted a new standard in dental claim adjudication: the Canadian Dental Association’s CDAnet version 4.1 claim standard. This standard delivers immediate co-ordination of benefits and allows providers to send attachments, such as oral digital images and documents describing treatment plans. The new standard comes with online direct billing, providing dental offices with faster processing.

Meet an Advisory Board Member

Alain Sotto
Dr. Alain Sotto,
medical director, Medcan Clinic

What major trends in health and wellness are you seeing?

More promotion of health screening for chronic diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome [and] certain cancers, which, for the most part, is not done very well except by a few companies. It should be done better, as it reduces absenteeism, disability and benefits costs, including drug costs. Companies are [also] outsourcing health and wellness services and programs for prevention or early detection of chronic diseases.

What are the obstacles to encouraging healthier habits?

The main obstacle is the fact that employees are not getting the four Es. The first E is education and awareness of medical problems. The next one is engaging employees in a discussion about taking responsibility for their own health. The [third] is empowering them with the most current and accurate medical information to make the best decisions about their health. The final E is enabling employees [in terms of] how and where to get the proper medical services to detect or prevent a chronic disease.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

I am hoping to go skiing at a chalet in Lake Placid.


Employers Cancer Care Summit

Feb. 23, 2015
Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montreal

Feb. 25, 2015
Fairmont Royal York, Toronto

Employers in every industry should learn to support employees dealing with cancer. Understanding prevention, the disease, treatments, resources and drug plan impacts are all essential to valuable workplace support. The half-day Toronto event will focus on subjects such as access to oncology medications, Canada’s patchwork of coverage for oral cancer medications and the future of prostate cancer research. The half-day Montreal event will explore the costs incurred by cancer patients in Quebec, future approaches to cancer treatment, the experiences of breast and prostate cancer patients, and how employers can support those patients.

Find more information on this and other industry events at

The Month in Numbers

40% of Canadian employers believe lack of training and professional development in their companies is causing a skills shortage in their industry — Hays Canada Salary Guide

47% of Canadians would continue to work if they hit the jackpot — 2015 Accountemps survey

42% of Quebec residents didn’t save or invest in 2014 — CROP survey

$191,000 — the average wealth of Canadian families without registered pension plans, versus $536,000 for families with such plans — 2012 Statistics Canada figures

Health Byte

Did you know?

Besides releasing endorphins, building muscle and strengthening bones, resistance training can also boost memory. A recent study at the Georgia Institute of Technology found even 20 minutes of intense strength exercise—such as weightlifting, squats and push-ups—can improve short-term memory. To help your employees reap that benefit, set up an on-site gym with free or subsidized membership, or offer free or subsidized membership at off-site gyms as part of your employee benefits.

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