Lethbridge College has received national recognition for its promotion of physical and mental health. Excellence Canada and Canada Life named the college one of the 2019 Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month Great Employers.
The award recognizes the college’s efforts to foster a physically and psychologically safe and healthy workplace through heathy lifestyles, mental health and workplace culture, physical environment, and corporate responsibility.
Health and wellness are a priority at the highest level at Lethbridge College where promotion of an inclusive healthy environment for students and employees is one of five overarching goals at the institutional level.
“Receiving this award is a great accomplishment and I hope it echoes the way that our students and employees feel about the institution,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “We care about our entire community and encourage them to put their own wellness first. A lot of work goes into making sure our people are supported in whatever way they need.”
That commitment shows across campus, says Laura Morden, Lethbridge College’s health promotion coordinator.
“It’s everywhere,” she says. “There was no shortage of programs, initiatives, training opportunities or examples to share with Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month.”
Wellness and safety efforts are often spearheaded by Lethbridge College’s Wellness Services and Occupational Health and Safety teams but may also originate from academic centres, which are training a new generation of first responders, health care professionals and child and youth care workers.
On any given day, visitors to the college might find a wellness fair, showcasing in-house services and community partners; workshops on topics such as suicide awareness, overdose prevention and laughter yoga; and noon-hour floor hockey or basketball for staff who want to burn off steam. During final exams and mid-terms, you’re likely to see volunteers bringing dogs or cats to campus so stressed students and staff can decompress with some quick pet therapy.
Having a fitness centre, gymnasium and paths to the coulees right on campus help encourage physical activity, Morden says.
The college introduced mandatory training on workplace respect last year, and has a broad range of ongoing programs for students and staff on mental health, resiliency and first response to struggling colleagues or students.
Lethbridge College is one of just 17 Canadian post-secondary institutions chosen for the Dimensions program, a national pilot project assessing its equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, which are also key values considered in the Heathy Workplace award.
October is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month. Excellence Canada, an independent, not-for-profit organization, manages Healthy Workplace Month with support from Canada Life, an insurance, wealth management and benefits specialist.