Category: Member News

How To Easily Offer Your Employees A Wellness Benefits Program

Large companies aren’t the only ones that can provide their staff with a Wellness program. According to a recent (2017) Sanofi Health Survey, wellness and illness prevention are top priorities for employers. Let the Chambers Plan provide you with the resources to provide your staff with wellness options regardless of the size of your organization.

Today, there are varying views about what a wellness program should look like. There are some that feel food stations at work and flex hours are a wellness program. Others feel it should include an Employee Assistance Plan and options like a Lifestyle Spending Account, allowing employees to claim benefits like gym memberships and active devices such as Apple Watches or a FitBit.

Regardless of your point of view, one thing is very clear when it comes to Wellness. A more satisfied, happy employee is a more productive one. Often the increases in productivity while at work, the improvement in absenteeism and the general theory that happy people get along better can make this financially beneficial for employers.

When people feel more taken care of it improves their entire lifestyle, not just their workplace environment. The Chambers Plan can help with that in so many ways. The employee portal for managing their plan, My-benefits.ca, has a health assessment tool an employee or their family members can use to help identify if they have any risks associated with their current health or lifestyle.

The Chambers Plan has always had the goal of supporting business with less than 100 employees providing not only cost certainly but also additional supporting benefits that firms this size may require. All employees also receive the Best Doctors program. This can allow an employee to find access to specialists or get a second opinion on either a diagnosis or course of treatment. In addition, the Chambers Plan provides the BAS, or Business Assistance Service to all plan holders. This is invaluable to small to medium sized enterprises providing HR, Accounting and Legal assistance as part of the underlying program.

Firms can also elect to add the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to their benefit plan. This is a low-cost item that can greatly impact mental Wellness in the workplace. It provides face to face counselling to employees and their family members and for only a few dollars a month, employers can add this non-taxable benefit to their plan. Consider the impact to someone dealing with mental health issues; even if it’s not the employee but instead a family member, that employee brings that stress with them to work everyday which does not result in a positive outcome. In addition, these resources can be accessed directly without employer involvement. This confidential treatment allows for resolution of issues without any impact or stigma for them in the workplace.

Today there are so many issues that can affect an employee’s Wellness. More and more people are dealing with the stress of aging parents and the financial burden that goes with it. Some need grief counselling or even assisted living accommodations. Depression is also a very common problem in society that still carries some stigma and needs quiet resolution.

Having security from a benefits plan, whether it includes income protection, health and dental claim protection or a combination of all things can really improve a firm’s perspective on wellness. A Chambers Plan advisor can also arrange for fiscal piece of mind with a Chambers Plan Group RRSP and as a by-product provide financial literacy sessions for employees that may need or wish to know more.

With more than 35,000 firms insured, the Chambers Plan has become a place for SME’s to come for Wellness and benefits plan support. Combined with their partnership with local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade there are many tools and resources available to help improve your workplace satisfaction. A Chambers Plan advisor can help you customize this to your staff, keeping in mind an older demographic consisting of Baby Boomers will have a different perspective than a younger firm composed mostly of Millennials.

Add in the lower overhead of the not-for-profit Chambers Plan, the ease of use for both employees and employers and the consistent stable renewals, the employees won’t be the only ones satisfied. Under the Chambers Plan employees have a lot of resources at their fingertips, and having your advisor demonstrate how to use the Chambers Plan is extremely beneficial so your staff get the most out of it. Wellness is achievable whether you have 1 or 100 employees.

Contact Hynek Financial Group to learn more about the Chambers Plan.



The Value In Protecting Yourself And Your Employees

New venture

  Many entrepreneurs feel that when they leave their job to start their own enterprise they may have to forego things like benefits for a while. This isn’t the case. The Chambers Plan allows them to take the risk on their new venture without risking their personal or family’s health. The Chambers Plan can insure you before you take on employees and provide traditional group benefits even if you are your only employee.

  As a not for profit plan designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs, the Chambers Plan has assembled more than 30,000 other businesses into Canada’s largest pool of its kind providing additional protection and stability for small and medium business enterprises.

One of the great things about the Chambers Plan is that it allows start-ups to participate fully in the pool if they have 3-9 employees, though some 1 and 2 person firms may also qualify. If they are fully pooled they join the other 35,000 businesses and renewals are based simply on what’s needed to sustain the pool. This keeps their costs predictable until they grow to a size where they can take on additional risk. If they had a bad year for claims due to an employee or their dependent it won’t impact rates the way it would if with a traditional carrier.

In addition, as you grow you can move into the Chambers Plan’s partially pooled option. With this your firm takes on more risk as a portion of their claims will be rated against premiums, although for taking on that risk you benefit from reduced rates. As the Chambers Plan is a not-for-profit program, surpluses go back into your claims and provide reduced rates.

Regardless of the firm size, the Chambers Plan offers typical benefits such as life, disability, critical illness, health and dental plans. To determine what levels of protection you want to put into place and also match your budget, a local Chambers Plan representative can help you marry up the two. It’s also important to prioritize the protection when you start your own benefits program, keeping in mind your advisor can help you to evolve your benefits plan as you grow your organization or should your needs change.

 The Chambers Plan also provides the best in class out-of-country protection which can be particularly important if you need to travel for your new business. If you and your staff must travel often this can save you significantly rather buying travel protection on each trip.

Other benefits can be sculpted based on budgets. Costs for things such as paramedical benefits for physiotherapy, chiropractor and massage therapists etc., can be capped or limited to provide budget control. Dental coverage can also be tailored to the company budget as well as the needs of the staff. Drug coverage is another area where a variety of options will meet a variety of budgets. Benefits today are no longer a one size fits all product. Firms with younger demographics may prefer more wellness-related benefits such as paramedical with less drug coverage, while an older staff may prefer having the scripts in place.

Protecting your staff shows them you care. It improves your staff retention, makes it easier to hire new employees and makes your workforce happier and more productive with less absenteeism. The advantages of providing protection over doing nothing are numerous. In fact, when workers are polled about either having a benefits plan or a $10,000 raise, the majority took the benefits option. In addition, it’s a great area to enhance compensation since health and dental premiums are not taxable benefits though are deductible for the employer. It may cost a lot less after tax than implementing a raise or bonus for both the employee and employer.

Protecting your family and those of your employees is a feel-good thing to do for employers. The Chambers Plan gives you that ability regardless of the size of your organization. They insure most industries and the plan is guaranteed renewable. With the stability in premium provided by the program there’s no reason your small business can’t have a benefits plan as soon as your business is ready regardless of size. You don’t have to give up traditional benefits just because you’ve gone into business for yourself.

 Having the freedom to do what you love while protecting your family’s health and well-being is a part of the entrepreneurial wish-list. That’s why more than 30,000 small and medium sized business have chosen the Chambers Plan to help provide that protection.

Learn more about the Chambers Plan.



Inclusivity In The Workplace – Chamber Members and Local MPs Weigh In

Recently, the Oakville Chamber had the opportunity to participate in a round-table on inclusivity with the federal government and local businesses in Oakville. Many inclusive employers encourage others to embrace becoming inclusive organizations because it can lead to greater work productivity and competitive advantages. 
We asked two Chamber members to share their thoughts on inclusivity and this is what they had to say.

Mandy Rennehan – CEO, Freshco

When and why did you decide to become an inclusive employer?

I can’t say it was a conscious decision. My business strategy has always been to lead with my heart and hiring is no different. I lovingly say I hire misfits — they are all unique and don’t fit into a stereotypical mould, and it works. My staff is from all walks of life, different ages and backgrounds. I firmly believe in hiring based on personality and bare potential, a resume is just a piece of paper and skills can be taught. I hire the right person for each job and it shows. My staff are happy, dedicated, and invested in the success of Freshco.

Would you encourage other businesses to become inclusive employers and why?

The richness of an inclusive team is the diversity of opinions and points of view. If everyone at Freshco came from a similar background and thought and acted the same way we wouldn’t evolve and grow as quickly as we have. The beauty is having team members raise their hands with fresh ideas, wicked-smart questions, and new challenges that continue to push Freshco to be #1 in the industry.

Julia Hanna – Ritorno

When and why did you decide to become an inclusive employer?

I have always been an inclusive employer. It felt like the right thing to do and proved to be beneficial to my business. From the very beginning, we were able to build successful employee/employer relationships through inclusive employment.

Would you encourage other businesses to become inclusive employers and why?

I would absolutely encourage all businesses to consider inclusive employment. I have found that there are numerous rewards. The employees that I have hired have been appreciative of the opportunity. They give 100% commitment to learning and often have been the most reliable employees.

 

Working collaboratively with government is important. Weighing in on the issue of inclusivity our local members of parliament had this to say.

MP Pam Damoff – MP Oakville North Burlington

What does inclusivity mean to you and why is it important?

Building inclusive communities means fostering fair and equal opportunities for every Canadian and ensuring that Canadians living with disabilities have the same opportunities to find good, well-paying jobs, make a contribution to their communities and the economy, and build a better life for themselves and their families.

A huge component of that is accessibility. We must remove the barriers – both physical or otherwise — that prevent individuals from participating fully in all facets of our community and ensure that persons living with disabilities have fair and equal access to workplaces. However, making workplaces accessible is just one part of the process.  We must also ensure that we are fostering inclusive workplaces by proactively reaching out to businesses and organizations to share the benefits of people living with disabilities, as well as reaching out to people with disabilities for work opportunities and recognizing the valuable contributions they can make to our workplaces and communities.

One of my goals is to make Halton the most inclusive community in Canada. To do that, we must encourage businesses to have an inclusive employment strategy and the accessibility to ensure that all persons who wish to do so can find and meaningful work and receive a competitive wage for that work. Accessibility is about getting through the door while inclusivity is about creating an atmosphere where everyone is welcome and belongs. 

Why do you think business should consider becoming an inclusive employer?

Having an inclusive employment strategy is also good for businesses. Business owners in my community who have made their workplace inclusive say that it created a positive atmosphere for their employees and the business and allowed their business to become more efficient. Inclusive employment benefits our economy, creates workplaces with higher group performance and profits, and a broad range of social and economic benefits from a community perspective. 

Yet, Canadians living with disabilities still face barriers in participating in the labour market. Having open and honest roundtable discussions about the barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities is an important first step in changing perceptions. We must offer meaningful job experiences to individuals of all skill levels. There are agencies who can assist businesses to both hire and accommodate those living with disabilities, and the Government of Canada has programs that can assist businesses be successful. We recently launched the Opportunities Fund (OF) which helps persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment or self-employment to increase their economic participation and independence. You can learn more at www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/disability-opportunity-national.html.

MP John Oliver – MP Oakville

What does inclusivity mean to you as a politician and why is it important?

In order for everyone in Canada to succeed, we need to know the challenges and barriers that people of diverse communities face. We can only fix problems when we know that they exist in the first place – that’s why it’s so important for folks of all backgrounds to have a seat at the table. This is particularly important in politics, where hearing from diverse perspectives is essential for changing legislation for the better, and investing in the right projects to create meaningful change in our communities.

Why do you think business should consider becoming an inclusive employer?

Much like in politics, businesses can only benefit from having further diversity involved in making decisions. Many Canadians who require additional assistance to succeed in the workplace are not able to reach their full potential, simply because businesses lack the infrastructure to accommodate hiring employees with disabilities. The Government of Canada knows that hiring Canadians with disabilities is an important resource for businesses, which is why we support businesses looking to become more inclusive through the Enabling Accessibility Fund, Skills Link and the Opportunities Fund.

If you would like more information on becoming an inclusive employer please visit:

Community Living Oakville
www.oakcl.org
Discover Ability
www.discoverability.network
Ready, Willing and Able
www.readywillingable.ca



Become an MNP Future Leader

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a partner of the MNP Future Leaders Program!

MNP Future Leaders ProgramAs an entrepreneurial firm built for entrepreneurs, MNP is proud to support our local business communities and young business leaders. They created the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program to recognize the importance of new and growing businesses – the lifeblood of our economy. They are committed to providing them with the support, advice and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing business environment. The program is aimed at current students and recent graduates from their post-secondary institution partners including Ryerson University, Sheridan College and University of Toronto Mississauga who are seeking to start or actively involved in an entrepreneurial enterprise.

MNP has also partnered with key local stakeholders who share the same goal of supporting youth entrepreneurship in our business community including the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Brampton Board of Trade, Mississauga Board of Trade, City of Brampton, City of Mississauga, and Metroland Media.

Winners will receive free monthly professional mentoring, guidance and advice from an experienced MNP partner for one full year and a personalized award acknowledging their accomplishment as an MNP Future Leader. They will also receive a year-long membership with their local board of trade or chamber of commerce. Member benefits include access to valuable resources and information on current industry trends and public policy issues, advocacy support as well as networking and growth opportunities.

HOW DO I APPLY?
Visit www.MNP.ca/futureleaders for more details about the program and to complete and submit an online application by the April 10, 2018 deadline.