Healthy employees mean a healthier bottom line

On the heels of American corporations limiting health care benefits to their employees who smoke, some Canadian companies are taking a more vested interest in the health of their own employees.

Telesat Canada, a satellite communications company which opened in 1969, is recognized worldwide as one of the leading telecommunications companies, and within Canada as one of the top 100 places to work.

Once owned by the government, the company is now a subsidiary of Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.

“We cover general health, top-up OHIP, paramedical, dental, travel and optical health. Our plan has been around forever; since the early years at least,” Catherine Dussault, Telesat’s director of human resources said.

“It’s all about attention and retention. We have information sessions on good health and lots of health initiative programs for our staff.”

Telesat’s company headquarters, located in Ottawa, has its own on-site gym for employees. But that’s just one way that the company is taking a proactive role in keeping it’s employees healthy.

“(Though) we haven’t asked our employees to go see their doctors regularly,” Dussault continued. “We make the flu shot available to them at work and encourage good health.”

“Productivity is the bottom line,” Pat King a registered nurse with a Scarborough health clinic said.

“The healthier the employee, the fewer cases of absenteeism and the more that gets done at work.”

Providing flu shots on premises is just one way a forward-thinking employer can guard an employee’s health. King believes that it won’t be long until most companies have flu shot clinics held on site for the employees to help facilitate access to the vaccination.

“We think what we have is good,” said Dussault. “(The company plan) is a good offering. We never know what might be added though.”