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The following section provides a brief explanation and examples of the healthy workplace awards criteria.

These topics are only a few of the many wellness topics that can be implemented in your workplace wellness program. Your wellness activities should address topics that are relevant for your employees.

Ideally, a Workplace Health Promotion Needs Assessment should be completed before selecting wellness topics to focus on. To understand your employee’s health needs, you may also want to consider reviewing health insurance provider benefits utilization data, workers compensation and disability claims, employee assistance program use, and or absenteeism records.   

The Healthy Workplace Awards program requires that employers implement a cross-section of activities for various wellness topics using a mix of proven health promotion strategies (i.e., awareness raising, education, skill-building, environmental supports, and supportive policies).  Example activities for more common wellness topics can be found on the workplace wellness webpages for mental health promotion, healthy eating, physical activity, preventing injury, infection control and prevention, and substance use resources.

To improve and monitor your wellness program we recommend that you evaluate your wellness activities.   For the higher level awards, we also encourage employers to engage in social responsibility activities that contribute to the community. At the highest level, employers are required to provide employees with a living wage.  Refer to the criteria for the various Gord Smith Healthy Workplace Awards Levels below, under the next drop-down question, to determine the number and types of activities in these categories that are required for the different award levels.

  1. Awareness Raising Activities are activities that raise awareness about important health issues by using effective communication strategies that reach all of your employees, such as sharing health information through posters, pamphlets or newsletters on bulletin boards, e-mail blasts, social media posts, information on paystubs or through posting on an internal workplace website.
  2. Education and Skill Building Activities are activities that help employees develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support healthy living, such as through lunch and learn presentations, demonstrations, hands-on learning, webinars, health fairs, workplace challenges, or workplace contests.
  3. Environmental Supports are things, or things that are done, to create a physical, social, and cultural workplace environment that encourage and support employees in making healthier choices. Supportive environments help make the healthier choice the easier choice in the workplace and beyond.
  4. Supportive Policies are put in place to ensure that awareness raising, education and skill building, and environmental support components are in place now and into the future.  These three types of policies are acceptable for the Gord Smith Health Workplace Awards program criteria:
    • Workplace Wellness Policies: These are standalone policies specific to any of the identified wellness topic (e.g., Healthy Vending Machine Policy specific to the healthy eating wellness topic). They do not include Health and Safety Policies that are required by legislation.
    • Policy statements within other policies: These are not full policies on a wellness topic, but may be included as a statement in another broader policy (e.g., fitness membership reimbursement in a general human resources policy for the physical activity wellness topic).  This may include organizational policies or union contract language.
    • Position statements: These are official organizational positions that are dated and signed by an organizational leader.  This may include organizational or work sector standards or human resources guidelines.  Letter or memos from senior management or unofficial documents would not qualify.
  5. Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy – this policy specifies your employer’s commitment to organizational practices that promote and support the health and well-being of employees and their families; outlines senior management and employee roles and responsibilities regarding wellness; and defines how the wellness program is communicated and offered to employees and their families.  For an example, click here.
  6. Evaluation – some level of evaluation of your wellness activities is important for accessing their effectiveness and improving them to better align with your employees’ interests and wellness needs.  For sample evaluation tools, refer to click here.
  7. Organizational Social Responsibility Activities – these are activities that demonstrate your organization’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of the community in addition to their own employees.  It recognizes that supporting our community, even in a small way, contributes to individual wellbeing. It also helps promote a positive public image while raising awareness about important health and wellness issues.  Examples include sponsoring local children’s sports teams, participating in fundraising for health research or health issues (e.g., dress down days, BBQs, or golf tournaments), participating in community physical activity challenges (e.g., walks, runs, bikes, or obstacle courses), neighborhood clean-up, donation drives (e.g. blood, clothing, or toys), or volunteering hours in the community (e.g., food bank or community build projects).
  8. Living Wage Certified Employers Program – in order to win an award at the Platinum or Diamond level, an organization must be a Certified Living Wage employer.  A living wage is different from the minimum wage.  The minimum wage rate is pre-set by the government and is the lowest rate an employer can legally pay for work performed. A living wage is calculated based on the real cost of goods and services in Windsor and Essex County and is the minimum amount a person must earn to afford to live and participate in our community. A living wage takes into consideration basic level of economic security and quality of life for most two-parent families.  It provides the means to raise children and take part in social and community activities. This means that the rate varies from community to community and may change year-to-year.   To learn more and to apply, visit www.wechu.org/living-wage.  Direct any questions to cdip@wechu.org or call 519-258-2146 ext. 3200.

If you are unsure about the meaning of the award criteria, scroll up and click on the previous question on this page for a description of each criteria (i.e., what does awareness raising activity mean?). For examples activities for common wellness topics refer to the workplace wellness pages for mental health promotion, healthy eating, physical activity, preventing injury, infection control and prevention, and substance use resources.

If you are unsure which level to apply or require assistance with any aspect of the Intent to Apply or online application, please email cdip@wechu.org or call 519-258-2146 ext. 3200.

Choose ONE wellness topic and provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising, Education or Skill-Building or Environmental Support Activity
  • ONE Statement of your employer’s commitment to employee wellness

Note: Workplaces may only receive this category for two years.

Choose ONE wellness topic and provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

Choose ONE wellness topic and provide evidence of

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

Additional Documents

  • ONE Evaluation of any the Awareness Raising, Education, or Skill Building or Environmental Support listed above

Choose TWO wellness topics. 

For the FIRST wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy specific to either one wellness topics chosen

For the SECOND wellness topic and provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace

Additional Documents

  • ONE Evaluation of any of the Awareness Raising, Education, Skill Building or Environmental Support listed above
  • ONE Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy

Choose TWO wellness topics. 

For the FIRST wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

For the SECOND wellness topic and provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

Additional Documents

  • ONE Evaluation of any of the Awareness Raising, Education, Skill Building or Environmental Support listed above
  • ONE Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy

Choose THREE wellness topics.

For the FIRST wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

For the SECOND wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

For the THIRD wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • ONE Awareness Raising Activity
  • ONE Education or Skill Building Activity
  • ONE Environmental Support in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

Additional Documents

  • TWO Evaluations of any of the Awareness Raising, Education, Skill Building or Environmental Support listed above
  • ONE Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy

Choose THREE wellness topics.

For the FIRST wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • TWO Awareness Raising Activities
  • TWO Education or Skill Building Activities
  • TWO Environmental Supports in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

For the SECOND wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • TWO Awareness Raising Activities
  • TWO Education or Skill Building Activities
  • TWO Environmental Supports in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

For the THIRD wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • TWO Awareness Raising Activities
  • TWO Education or Skill Building Activities
  • TWO Environmental Supports in your workplace
  • ONE Supportive Policy

Additional Documents

  • TWO Evaluations of any of the Awareness Raising, Education, Skill Building or Environmental Support listed above
  • ONE Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy
  • ONE Organizational Social Responsibility Activity

Choose THREE wellness topics.

For the FIRST wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • TWO Awareness Raising Activities
  • TWO Education or Skill Building Activities
  • TWO Environmental Supports in your workplace
  • TWO Supportive Policies

For the SECOND wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • TWO Awareness Raising Activities
  • TWO Education or Skill Building Activities
  • TWO Environmental Supports in your workplace
  • TWO Supportive Policies

For the THIRD wellness topic provide evidence of:

  • TWO Awareness Raising Activities
  • TWO Education or Skill Building Activities
  • TWO Environmental Supports in your workplace
  • TWO Supportive Policies

Additional Documents

  • TWO Evaluations of any of the Awareness Raising, Education, Skill Building or Environmental Support listed above
  • ONE Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy
  • TWO Organizational Social Responsibility Activities
  • Certified Living Wage Employer (Applications are typically reviewed and a decision is provided within 10 days of applying. Employers can apply at www.wechu.org/living-wage)
  • Employers must fulfill the Platinum criteria for the current year AND
  • Employers must have received the Platinum or Diamond level award for a minimum of the TWO consecutive previous years. 

Gord Smith Healthy Workplace Award recipients will have 5-year increments of receiving any level of a Healthy Workplace Award denoted on their plaque (i.e., 5 years, 10 years, 15 year).  For example, if an employer received Gold Level 1 for two years, Platinum for two years and Diamond this year, then they would have a 5-year long service recognition on their Gord Smith Healthy Workplace Award plaque this year.

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