Description: OPS_BLK_ENG






28 May 2012



Executive Director, Ottawa Police Services Board



Chief of Police, Ottawa Police Service








That the Ottawa Police Services Board approve a contract in the amount of $240,600 (exclusive of taxes) to The Real You Inc. to expand the delivery of “The Real You Ottawa Police Service Wellness Pilot Program”.




In 2007 the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) began the search for a comprehensive wellness program for employees.   Staff tested several programs offered by area physicians.  The most promising one was called “The Real You”.  A 10-week pilot program of “The Real You” was initiated that year.  The anecdotal feedback received on the program was very positive.  


In November 2010, the Ottawa Police Services Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the amount of $267,550 with The Real You Inc. for the delivery of “The Real You Ottawa Police Service Wellness Pilot Program”.  This leading-edge holistic health and wellness initiative, customized to members’ unique needs, was launched as a pilot program in March 2011 with 100 OPS candidates.  During the 13 month program candidates work with the program’s medical team (including a medical doctor, two naturopathic doctors, a registered psychologist and five registered physiotherapists) to identify potential health issues and develop appropriate medical treatments and intervention strategies.


The purpose of this report is to request that the Board expand the program to another group of 100 candidates.




The Need for Wellness Programs


Police employers face challenging member health issues that give rise to the need for a wellness program geared to the unique circumstances of their occupation.  Health statistics indicate that those in the police profession experience a higher risk of increased rates of premature death, alcoholism, mental illness and sleep disorders.  For example:



Benefits of Wellness Programs


In terms of return on investment (ROI), the benefits of on-site health and wellness programs are well documented.  As noted in the November 2010 Police Services Board Report, the following employers have captured their outcomes in the form of return on investment statistics:


·         A 1996 review of 10 major studies reported ROI ranging from $2 - $6 per $1 invested, with two studies reporting as high as $10 - $20 per $1 invested

·         A two-year study by the DuPont Corporation of its comprehensive health promotion program reported a 14% decline in disability days vs. a 5.8% decline in the control group, and they reported a total of 11,726 fewer disability days.  If the OPS achieved a similar result, the potential cost savings would be approximately $5M.

·         Canada Life (Toronto) reported ROI of $3.40 per $1 invested primarily due to reduced turnover, productivity gains and decreased medical claims.

·         BC Hydro reported $1.2M in reduced sick leave; $97K in reduced accident costs; $35K in reduced WCB claims; productivity gains of $919K and an ROI of $2.74 per $1 invested.

·         Husky Injection Molding System reported a reduction in sick days lost of 2.5 days/year/employee and a reduction in drug costs of over 75% within one year after implementing a comprehensive wellness program.


The Real You OPS Wellness Pilot Program


The research in this field shows that healthy employees help to create a healthy organization.  The OPS recognizes that a healthy organization is required to deliver effective and efficient policing operations to the City of Ottawa.  Through the Business Plan the Board has also identified the continued need to invest in, support and develop OPS members. 


The current Real You Program was launched as a pilot in March 2011 and will be concluding in May 2012.  The 100 candidates in the program —70 sworn and 30 civilian—are learning how to improve their health by making positive lifestyle changes to:  1) increase their level of physical activity; 2) create a healthy and balanced nutrition plan; and 3) develop positive coping strategies for identified stressors.   Participants assess their current health status and, through a multi-disciplinary team led by a physician, receive education, support and tools to improve their current health and prevent disease.  The end result is a healthier, balanced lifestyle.


The Pilot Program involves:



In addition to working with The Real You medical team, Pilot Program participants are referred to a variety of other specialists, including cardiologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, respirologists, dermatologists, a gynaecologist, general and plastic surgeons, and sleep medicine specialists.


Confidential medical information is being managed in accordance with the Health Protection Act and other applicable privacy legislation.  Personal medical information is not shared with the Health, Safety and Lifestyles Section or any other member of the OPS.  The costs of co-ordinating and administering the program are covered through the contract with OPS.  The direct costs for physician and practitioner services are borne by the benefit plan of the participating individuals or the respective provincial health insurance plan, with any shortfall covered by the participant.


Initial Pilot Program Outcomes and Evaluation


Launched in March 2011, the Pilot Program has been underway for 15 months.  It is yielding significant results, including:



An initial evaluation demonstrated marked improvements for participants in several areas:



The Pilot Program has identified a variety of health conditions in OPS members and allowed for the development of appropriate medical treatment and intervention strategies. The earlier in which health ailments are identified and managed, the less harm experienced by our members and the less associated resultant costs experienced by our service. The preventative techniques and strategies imparted to OPS members by the Program have benefited the overall health of our members, and is resulting in a healthier, happier workforce—results that are often associated with decreased absenteeism and associated costs, while enhancing operational performance.


Comprehensive Pilot Program Evaluation


As outlined in the November 2010 Board Report, Health, Safety and Lifestyles will carry out a formal evaluation of the Pilot Program.  The evaluation will determine if the goals of the program have been met, establish the costs and benefits of the investment and identify areas for program change and improvement.  The results of the evaluation will be shared with the Board in Q1 2013.

Expansion of the Pilot Program


Based on the very strong results to date and a desire to maintain momentum, the OPS is recommending expanding the Pilot Program to include a further 100 candidates.  This recommendation will:


Based on feedback from the first 100 participants, the Program will be offered in a shorter timeframe without negatively affecting the quality of services or involvement of the health care professionals.  The modified version of the pilot program features a condensed timeframe (from 13 months to 6 months), but continues to provide in-depth assessment and education services.  A maintenance program will be offered to the first 100 participants who wish to continue to receive support from the Real You Team health care professionals.


If approved, the proposed Pilot expansion will be launched in Q3 and be open to 100 additional candidates. 




Consultation has been undertaken with the Ottawa Police Association and the Ottawa Police Senior Officers’ Association.  Participants in the program have also been—and will continue to be—consulted with regard to the effectiveness of the Pilot.




The approval of the expansion of the Pilot Program will require that the OPS enter into a contract of $240,600 (exclusive of taxes).  Funds of $300,000 are available in Capital Project – Strategic Growth Initiative, to support this initiative as shown below:


Approved Budget to Date                           $300,000.00

Total Paid and Committed                                     -  

Balance Available                                       $300,000.00

                        This Request:                       $240,600.00

                        Balance Remaining                        $  59,400.00




The Real You™ Wellness Program has facilitated a number of health improvements for OPS employees.  This investment in the health and quality of life of OPS employees has been well received. The OPS has been recognized as a leader in promoting physical fitness through various programs.  The addition of the Real You Wellness Program is another example of the leadership role the OPS plays in promoting optimal health and wellness of employees. Expanding the Pilot Program while a comprehensive evaluation of the current results is undertaken supports a number of OPS objectives, including the effective and efficient delivery of policing services in the City of Ottawa.




(original signed by)


Charles Bordeleau

Chief of Police