Victoria Airport Authority is focusing on its employees’ total health as it hosts a number of events and programs for Healthy Workplace Month in October.

The airport authority has participated in the annual initiative, which is presented by Great-West Life Assurance Co. and managed by non-profit organization Excellence Canada, for the past five or six years. In the past, its focus has been on getting people moving, but this year’s events are covering all aspects of employee health, including mental health, healthy eating, healthy relationships and fitness, according to Nicole Beach, VAA’s manager of human resources.

Each week of October one of these health categories will be highlighted through onsite events and emails to employees. There will also be weekly prize draws for staff who exercise or cook a healthy meal, with a grand prize draw wrapping up the program at the end of the month.

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“We want to make sure that the [health and wellness] programs we’re offering to staff are highlighted this month,” says Beach. “So we take a focused period of time to share that information and make [the programs] available so that it resonates with them through the rest of the year.”

For instance, some employees were not using the company-sponsored employee assistance program, according to Beach. An email reminding employees about the resource was sent out during the first week of October, which focused on mental health. The airport also hosted reflexology sessions and served tea and stress-relieving toys in the staff lunchroom.

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“We want to stay on top of  a growing concern for a lot of employers,” says Beach. “If we are making sure our staff understand they’re supported and that there’s tools for them, when they’re presented with those problems, they will know they are supported.”

This year, healthy relationships is also being included as an element of Healthy Workplace Month because “a healthy home and daily life actually translates to how well we feel as a human being both at work and play,” says Beach.

To engage employees, Victoria Airport Authority has also planned a major event to coincide with each weekly theme. Following the first week’s reflexology session to focus on mental health, it’s hosting a cooking and nutrition lesson this week as part of it’s focus on healthy eating. In the third week of the month, a free Victoria Royals’ hockey game for employees and their families is the main event around healthy relationships, while a Zumba session will highlight fitness at the end of the month.

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Although the Victoria Airport Authority invests money and resources towards the health and wellness campaign every year, Beach notes that building a healthier workforce helps to control employee absences.

“Most employers are experiencing the same rising costs for benefits…,” she says. “It’s beneficial for us from an HR perspective to be proactive in giving employees the opportunity to be healthy and well so their reliance on costly benefits is reduced or at least mitigated.”

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

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