Employee wellness

Making a healthy investment in employee well-being

Sun Life invests heavily in employee wellness. We believe it’s an investment that pays off. Employee wellness underpins our ability to deliver excellent service to Clients and to attract and retain top talent. It also helps to support our high-performance culture. 

Our approach

We’ve been fostering employee wellness for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of our wellness programs to Sun Life’s resilience. That’s especially true for programs focusing on mental health.

We help our Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. We want the same for our employees. Through our Global Wellness Strategy, we aim to drive a culture of health and well-being for employees worldwide. In line with Sun Life’s Purpose, the global strategy centres on three pillars – mental, physical and financial wellness.

Our global wellness offerings include: 

  • Benefit plans to support the health of employees and their families
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP), with free, 24/7 access to third-party confidential advice and help for employees and their families
  • Paid and unpaid time off to promote mental health and provide work/life balance
  • Retirement and savings plans to help employees build financial security for the future

The design of our wellness programs varies by region, recognizing local needs, Sun Life products and priorities. Employee input at each location helps us determine specific health topics of interest in each area. Where possible, we offer flexibility to allow employees to choose programs that meet their unique circumstances.  

Some examples of these programs include: 

  • Flexible work options to allow employees to choose where, when and how they work
  • Digital wellness platforms giving employees an opportunity to earn incentives for building healthy habits
  • Access to virtual health care and other on-demand services, like webinars to navigate work and life challenges
  • Inclusive paid family and medical leave programs (maternity, paternity, parental/adoption, compassionate and sick) exceeding minimum legal rules
  • Access to paid emergency days and additional resources for unforeseen challenges, including child and elder care
  • Partially paid sabbatical programs employees can use to recharge, connect with family or pursue personal development
  • A Benevolent Fund to help employees facing unforeseen financial difficulties

We have established key performance indicators to evaluate employee wellness and the effectiveness of Sun Life’s wellness efforts. These indicators include:

  • Workplace safety metrics
  • Participation in our wellness initiatives
  • Culture and engagement scores
  • Casual absence and disability outcomes

We also review wellness trends and benchmark ourselves against industry metrics. We use this information to ensure our wellness plans are competitive and address the needs of current and prospective employees. 

We share success stories and best practices across Sun Life to drive continuous improvement in our wellness strategies.  

Jacques Goulet
President, Sun Life Canada

“Canada was already facing a mental health crisis prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has amplified the crisis, and poses potential mental health impacts for years to come. We need to do everything we can – as leaders – to empower our workforce in managing their well-being and creating healthier work environments. We can’t wait for the pandemic to be over to invest in mental health support. To accelerate meaningful and sustainable action, C-suite leaders need to make this a priority.” 


  • Address regional health issues (e.g., mental health in Canada) 

2021 highlights

  • Promoted employee mental health with more resources worldwide
  • Assisted employees to get the health services they needed at critical times
  • Created more opportunities for employees to look after their long-term finances

Learn more about our progress and performance in our 2021 Sustainability Report and ESG Performance Tables.


Canada Awards for Excellence 2021 Canada Awards for Excellence 2021

Platinum recipient of the Canada Awards for Excellence for Mental Health at Work®1. This award recognizes leading employers who support the mental health of their employees.

A 2021 Company that is Leading on Leave A 2021 Company that is Leading on Leave

The National Partnership for Women & Families listed Sun Life U.S. as one of the 70 companies “Leading on Leave.” 

Canada Awards for Excellence 2021 Canada Awards for Excellence 2021

2021 HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award – Disability Management Consultant

Canada Awards for Excellence 2021 Canada Awards for Excellence 2021

2021 HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award – Employee Assistance Plan

Canada Awards for Excellence 2021 Canada Awards for Excellence 2021

2021 HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Award – Wellness Programs

1 Mental Health at Work is a registered trademark of Excellence Canada.