Grieg Seafood BC’s Director of Indigenous and Community Relations, Marilyn Hutchinson (centre), received the Scotiabank Champion of Agriculture Award for Employee Health & Wellness in Abbotsford on Jan. 24. The award was presented by Janice Holzcherer, Scotiabank’s Natinoal Head of Agriculture (left) and Lana Popham, BC’s Minister of Agriculture (submitted photo).

Grieg Seafood awarded for employee wellness

Grieg Seafood BC’s employee-wellness initiatives were recognized at the BC Agri-Food Industry Gala in Abbotsford on Jan. 24.

Janice Holzscherer, Scotiabank’s National Head of Agriculture, presented Grieg BC with the Scotiabank Champion of Agriculture Award for Employee Health & Wellness alongside BC’s Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham.

The award is given annually to an enterprise or individual leading the way in employee health and wellness, while also making a difference in their community.

“Grieg Seafood BC was designated the 2019 award winner because they have undertaken key corporate initiatives that resonate with Scotiabank’s values, such as promoting mental health and inclusivity,” Holzscherer said. “Grieg has taken steps to create a sense of wellness in the workplace by raising awareness, addressing stigma, and supporting mental health programs. Their employees have access to nutrition experts, fitness programs, and equipment and are encouraged to step away from work, enjoy and relate to the natural beauty of their surroundings, and focus on their wellbeing.”

The aquaculture company’s employee wellness initiatives were launched in September 2017 with a mission to improve employees’ mental and physical health. The Grieg Fitness Allowance offers $600 to each worker annually to purchase things like gym passes, running shoes, paddleboards, or ski passes to maintain good fitness indoors and outdoors. The program also provides access to a health and wellness blog and free, confidential in-person counselling services.

Marilyn Hutchinson, Grieg BC’s Director of Indigenous & Community Relations, received the award on behalf of the company.

“Our farm workers can be fairly isolated, working in areas with constant weather stress and, in some cases, may find themselves working in relatively dangerous conditions,” said Hutchinson.

“By encouraging physical activity, good body health, and access to free counselling support, our goal is to encourage good mental and physical fitness, improve workplace safety, and reduce incidents of injury on the job for our 150 employees.”

Grieg BC has 22 fish farms around coastal Vancouver Island with around half operating at any time. Their remote locations can mean farm workers’ mental and physical health is more at risk. In Grieg’s two newest floating worker accommodations in Nootka Sound and Clio Channel, rooms have been dedicated to improving the physical fitness of farm workers, including cardio and weight-lifting equipment.

The Scotiabank Champion award also recognized Grieg for its work with Indigenous partners and communities.

“Grieg’s focus on inclusion is impressive,” Holzscherer added. “By recently establishing the new division, Indigenous & Community Relations headed by Marilyn Hutchinson, Grieg has committed to maintaining and strengthening relationships with Indigenous groups where it operates, while taking steps to create a sense of wellness in the workplace.”

Grieg BC was also a finalist for the Brigid Rivoire Award for Champions of Agricultural Mental Health, a national award that recognizes an organization that make outstanding contributions in raising awareness, addressing stigma, and supporting agricultural mental health in their community.

“This recognition helps validate our efforts as a company to provide a happy, healthy, and safe environment for all of our workers,” Hutchinson said.

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