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Investing in your employees: Making the case for wellness programs in the workplace

June 07, 2016


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Improving employee engagement, productivity and health is one of the key challenges faced by organizations in every sector. Fitness memberships, health screening, dietary information – companies often provide such benefits, but do they really pay off?

Until now, there has been little understanding of both the business case and the health case for comprehensive wellness programs in the workplace.

For Ivey’s third event in The Talent SeriesAssociate Professor Michael Rouse, in partnership with Sun Life, will lead an interactive discussion on the preliminary findings of a rigorous, first-of-its-kind study of the benefits of wellness programs in Canada. The preliminary findings of the two-year study show substantial improvement in employees’ physical activity and nutrition habits; increases in employee engagement; an improved corporate culture; and, a reduction in stress levels.

So how can organizations take advantage of these findings?

A panel, including Jennifer Elia, Assistant Vice President, Health and Wellness, Group Benefits at Sun Life Financial, will share their insights into the research, outcomes and resulting best practices for organizations. This is a must-attend event for human resources leaders and anyone interested in keeping top talent engaged and motivated.

The Talent Series is a new series designed to help you to unlock your organization’s talent in new ways

Event Details

June 7, 2016, 7:30-9:30 a.m.

7:30-8 a.m. Breakfast and registration
8-8:30 a.m. Presentation
8:30-9 a.m. Panel discussion
9-9:30 a.m. Q&A

Location: Ivey’s Tangerine Leadership Centre (formerly ING DIRECT Leadership Centre), King & York St., Toronto

Tickets: $30 (non-alumni rate), $25 (alumni rate), $20 (student rate) 

Topics you will explore

  • Examine the value of wellness programs
  • What is the payoff of such programs?
  • What are some of the best practices?
  • What is to come from the Sun Life-Ivey Canadian Wellness ROI Study?

About the Moderators:

Associate Professor Michael J. Rouse, Ivey Business School
Associate Professor Michael J. Rouse is the principal investigator for the Sun Life-Ivey Canadian Wellness ROI study. He is associate professor, strategy and organization at the Ivey Business School at Western University. Michael’s research has been published in prestigious academic journals such as the Strategic Management JournalManagement Learning, the Journal of World BusinessImplementation Science, and the Journal of Public Health Policy. He has served as guest editor for two academic journals and has co-authored five books, one of which – Strategic Analysis and Action – is in its ninth edition. Michael is the academic director of Ivey’s Healthcare Management Executive MBA program in China. Michael has been honoured with multiple teaching awards including the prestigious David G Burgoyne Teaching Award for Outstanding Commitment to Student Development. 

Jennifer Elia, Assistant Vice President, Health and Wellness, Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial
With over 15 years’ experience, Jennifer’s career has included roles in disability management, strategic planning, and product development. She joined Sun Life in 2009 to help establish the Health and Wellness business before moving to Human Resources where she led the design and delivery of market leading benefits and wellness programs. Today, Jennifer leads a high-performing team of health and wellness experts focused on helping Canadian employers set and achieve their healthy workplace objectives. She is passionate about integrating group benefits and wellness programs. Jennifer is a graduate of the Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion program at Centennial College and has an honours degree in Health and Psychology from Queen’s University. 

About the Panellists:

Nancy Marchese, CPL, CHRM, CDMP, Manager, Employee Benefits and Health, Safety and Wellness, Municipality of Richmond Hill
Nancy Marchese is the Manager of Employee Benefits and Health, Safety and Wellness at the Municipality of Richmond Hill where she leads a team of high-performing professionals providing proactive client program services in relation to accident/illness prevention, wellness, benefits administration, disability/case management and health and safety. Nancy has more than 20 years of extensive Human Resources Management experience in multi-unionized public sector organizations.   

Dr. Alain Sotto, Occupational Medical Consultant, TTC; Director, Medcan Wellness Clinic; Investigative Coroner, York Region
Dr. Alain Sotto is Director of the Medcan Wellness Clinic, Canada’s largest executive health-care clinic. He is also the Occupational Medical Consultant for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), a position he has held since 2006. Currently, Dr. Sotto is also an Investigative Coroner for York Region, appointed by an Order in Council in the Ontario Parliament. His primary area of interest is focused on “saving lives in the workplace one life at a time” with integrated health strategies at work for preventing or delaying the onset of chronic diseases. Dr. Sotto has held a number of medical consultant positions for large, national organizations, and he has been appointed to numerous medical and professional advisory boards.    

Allan Stordy, President & CEO, Arete® HR Inc.
Allan Stordy, President & CEO of Arete® HR Inc., is a recognized leader and innovator in the employee and business assistance program industry. His commitment to excellence and strong belief that the workplace should not be the cause of employee health or performance issues, led him to found his respected company in 2009. Arete provides bilingual assistance services to over 35,000 businesses located across Canada’s provinces and territories.    


$30 (non-alumni rate), $25 (alumni rate), $20 (student rate)


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