Employee wellness

Making a healthy investment in employee well-being

For years, Sun Life has been investing 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 supports our high-performance culture. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of our wellness programs to Sun Life’s resilience. That’s especially true for programs focusing on financial and mental health.

Our approach

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. All these elements of wellness are connected and contribute to an employee’s overall health. For example, improving mental health can improve physical health.

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.

Sun Life promotes and supports mental health at work and beyond. We focus on prevention, managing illnesses and fostering positive outcomes.

Our global mental wellness offerings include: 

  • Benefit plans to support the health of employees and their families, including mental health coverage
  • 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
  • Mental health webinars, podcasts and information resources

Regional mental wellness offerings include:

  • Flexible work options to allow employees to choose where, when and how they work
  • Partially paid sabbatical programs employees can use to recharge, connect with family or pursue personal development
  • Access to virtual health care and other on-demand services, including online cognitive behavioural therapy and virtual live therapy
  • Mental health training for people leaders

We promote key aspects of physical wellness, including by providing a safe work environment and by encouraging employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle (for example, through physical activity, good nutrition and proper rest).

In addition, we encourage healthy lifestyles through internal fitness campaigns, health incentives and educational resources as well as facilitating access to dietitians and health coaches in some regions. 

In terms of physical workplace safety, we continue to drive a range of safety activities to prevent accidents and reduce the risk of injury. These practices include:

  • Safety training
  • Emergency preparedness plans
  • Ergonomic workstations in North American offices featuring chairs, headsets, and sit-stand (height adjustable) desks that allow employees to use a workspace in a more comfortable, supportive manner
  • Communication and ongoing engagement

Sun Life has more than 780 safety ambassadors who serve as the go-to people for safety resources and awareness-building within their region.

Sun Life also supports and encourages the financial well-being of our workforce. We recognize that financially healthy employees are happier, healthier and more productive. Here are some ways we help employees achieve better financial health:

  • Comprehensive retirement and savings plans to help employees build financial security for the future
  • Inclusive paid family and medical leave programs (maternity, paternity, parental/adoption, compassionate and sick) at or exceeding minimum legal rules
  • Pay programs which aim to reflect a salary that supports the daily lives of our employees, while being competitive with our peers in the market
  • Access to paid care days to support employees and their loved ones
  • Financial literacy resources designed to meet diverse information needs
  • Financial counselling services through our EAP
  • A Benevolent Fund to help employees facing unforeseen financial difficulties (available in some regions)

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

  • Participation in our wellness programs
  • Culture and engagement scores
  • Casual absence and disability outcomes
  • Benefits usage

We also review wellness trends and benchmark ourselves against industry metrics. This information helps 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

“We need to do everything we can to empower our employees in managing their well-being and creating healthier work environments. Creating a workplace where employee health and wellness come first is the cornerstone of Sun Life’s culture. To accelerate meaningful and sustainable action, we have deepened our commitment to mental health by equipping our employees and leaders with tools and training, encouraging positive and open conversations, while also supporting our Clients, partners and communities. All leaders need to set the tone and make mental health a priority. Together we will build a more resilient and sustainable future”


  • Improve health and wellness outcomes for all. We are developing impact metrics related to this objective.

2022 highlights

  • 92% of employees say that their immediate manager/supervisor supports their well-being1
  • Reinforced our commitment to a safe work environment and implemented initiatives to prevent the spread of COVID-19 worldwide

Learn more about our progress and performance in our 2022 Sustainability Report and ESG Performance Tables.


Recognized by LifeWorks Workplace Strategy Index2 for Mental Health as a leading organization for our mental health strategy in Canada, placing in the top 3 when benchmarking our policies, practices, and behaviours related to workplace mental health against the index and other Canadian organizations. The index supports our focus on mental health by offering guidance toward continued improvement.

Recognized as one of the Best WorkplacesTM for Mental Wellness (Canada 2022) by Great Place to Work®. 84% of employee respondents said that our workplace is psychologically and emotionally healthy and supportive.

Based on global employee engagement survey. 68% of employees surveyed participated. Refer to Sustainability Data Scope - Note 2.

On Feb 1, 2023, LifeWorks Workplace Strategy Index was rebranded to TELUS Health.

Refer to Sustainability Data Scope.