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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Refining Wellness

                The other day I was staying close to Saint John, NB and I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Darlene Farrell about the wellness programming her and her support staff (a dietician, fitness professional, nurses etc.) is offering at the Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John, NB. See, to many of us, Irving is a gas station along with others such as Esso, Petro Canada, etc. However, Mrs. Farrell and Irving Oil is taking the company one step further. They are refining wellness. Through a holistic approach, the company and her team are hitting the four major pillars of wellness. Those pillars being psychological, physical, social and emotional wellness. 
               This past year, the refining wellness section of the refinery has taken off rapidly. Through lunch and learn programs whereby employees can come ask questions and dispel myths with registered dieticians, nurses and consultants about their health. The company has also paired up with a local entrepreneur who is growing all natural fruits and vegetables, baking local bread and making household spices readily available for Irving Oil employees. When I asked Mrs. Farrell about this her passion ignited and said, It is awesome, we are helping a local entrepreneur and he is providing our employees with an assortment of seasonal fruits and vegetables (from the summer to fall) for them to take home to their families instead of buying less healthy alternatives”.
                The company also hosts an annual wellness fair. Similar to your middle school science fair, projects and stations are set up at the Refinery, whereby employees within the refinery can come in and learn new health and wellness concepts, receiving a participating gift such as skipping ropes, eco-friendly bag, etc. Last year the fair exceeded its initial numbers and Darlene is optimistic that the event will need to be held in a larger space next year.
                Also, Darlene talked to me about the company’s push towards a tobacco- free environment. The Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John will be soon going tobacco- free and will be the model refinery as the only tobacco free refinery in Canada.
                When I asked Darlene how she seems to organize all of this and find time for her own wellness she replied, I have tremendous support from the top down. Having support staff and finding sustainable, affordable resources along with a company that supports my passion has allowed me and my fellow team members to completely transform the refinery into a leader in health and wellness”.
                I wanted to write about the refining wellness programming happening at Irving to educate those who assume it is just like any other company. After diving in to the website [ ] and talking with Darlene, I soon realized that this company is leading the way not just as a model for refineries to follow, but for many other large and small businesses to follow as well.
Ryan Fahey
CPTN Canada

1 comment:

  1. It's easy for Irving to do this because they are one of the richest corporations in the world. They have money to spend on this whereas a smaller company would find it difficulty. It would be cool to see the government give tax reductions or even to reimburse these companies to do things like this.