Healthy Workplace Initiative Fund

.About the Healthy Workplace Initiative Program (HWIP)

The 2018 application process is now open. 

Application deadline is 4:00 p.m. on April 18, 2018.

The Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program (HWIP) is an annual fund available to UBC departments and units to support grassroots activities that promote wellbeing in the workplace.

The program provides start-up funds and support for health related, sustainable initiatives. You can apply for funding for programs that include yoga or fitness classes, building a community garden or investing in mental health training in your workplace.

Each department may submit one application per year and successful applications are selected on a lottery basis until the available funding has been used up. If your department is approved for Healthy Workplace Initiative funding, you must use the funds within one year.

The fund is based on a reimbursement model.  All successful departments will need to cover the cost of the initiatives up front and then submit receipts for reimbursement.

There are three steps to the application process:

  1. Select one of our funding options outlined below.

Yoga/fitness classes: $2,500

Implement 12 to 24 weeks of yoga classes or 8 to 24 weeks of fitness classes with experienced trainers conducted at the worksite. This is a great and convenient way to integrate well-being into the work day.

For full details, including approved, and non-approved uses of funding, please download the Yoga/Fitness Class Toolkit.

Bike share: $1,000

Active transportation is an excellent way to fit fitness into your day and get to meetings faster! Outfit your office with all the equipment you need to start and run a bike share program.

For full details, including approved, and non-approved uses of funding, please download the Bike Share Toolkit.

Mental health training: $3000

Implement a mental health training program in your department. This program empowers you to harness the experience and evidence-based knowledge of community mental health experts to learn more about mental health, mental illness, resilience and prevention.

For full details, including approved and non-approved uses of funding, please download the Mental Health Training Toolkit.

Community garden: $2,500

Looking for a way to beat stress and build teamwork? Build a community plant or vegetable garden in your workplace.

For full details, including approved and non-approved uses of funding, please download the Community Garden Toolkit.

Team health challenge: $2,500

Stay motivated and on track with a little healthy competition. Implement team-based or individual health challenges in your department. In the past, groups have focused on overall health, drinking more water, healthy eating, physical activity, walking and more!

For full details, including approved and non-approved uses of funding, please download the Health Challenge Toolkit.

Art and creative expression: $500

Art projects and creative activities are a great way to reduce stress and build resilience. Start a knitting club, create a team art piece to display, have weekly ‘crafternoons’ or host an adult colouring party. The possibilities are endless.

For full details, including approved and non-approved uses of funding, please download the Art and Creative Expression Toolkit.

Innovative new idea: Up to $2,500

Have a brilliant idea for a healthy workplace initiative that is not on the list? Submit an application, tell us about your idea and it might become a reality.For full details, including approved and non-approved uses of funding, please download our Innovative Idea Toolkit.

2. Fill out the application form.

3. Submit the completed application form to by the application deadline.

Successful applications

Successful applications will be selected  using a lottery system. All applicants will be notified within one week of the application deadline.  Priority will be given to departments and units who did not receive funding in the previous round.


2017 Funding Recipients

Congratulations to our initial round of 2017 Healthy Workplace Initiative Funding recipients!  There were 39 departments and units that received funding including groups at UBC Okanagan, Point Grey and four  hospital sites.

The benefits of workplace health initiatives

Investing in workplace health is a sound investment. Studies show the following benefits of workplace health initiatives:

  • Physical exercise, actively working on time management and increased social time help improve occupation stress (particularly among faculty). [1]
  • Active promotion of physical activity and health-related activities in the workplace reduces absenteeism and increases overall mental health of employees. [2] [3]
  • In Canada, the majority of workplace health programs aim to improve outcomes related to employee stress, work-life balance and depression. [4]
  • Top priorities in Canadian workplaces include 1) developing workplace cultures where individuals are responsible for their health and 2) improving the mental health of employees. [5]
Enrollment Services Department Sports Day

Enrollment Services Sports Day

How HWIP funding is helping groups at UBC

“This has been a great initiative. As well as consciously walking more, I have changed my eating habits, joined a gym and lost 14 pounds. I intend to keep this up.” – Office of the Dean of Arts

“Everyone was in a much better mood and it was nice to get out of the office. I also appreciated going to a class with co-workers rather than doing something on my own.“ – Loralie Hettler, Accounts Receivable Coordinator, Conferences and Accommodation

UBC IT Yoga Club

Check out this video of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility’s Hip to be Fit Program, Video by UBC’s Healthy Workplace Initiative Program.


Sign up for the monthly Healthy UBC e-Newsletter to stay informed about HWIP criteria and application deadlines.

[1] Arabia, S., Kokash, H. & Arabia, S. Faculty Perception of Stress and Coping Strategies in a Saudi Private University?: An Exploratory Study. Can. Cent. Sci. Educ. 4, 137–149 (2011).
[2] Bhui, K. S., Dinos, S., Stansfeld, S. A. & White, P. D. A Synthesis of the Evidence for Managing Stress at Work: A Review of the Reviews Reporting on Anxiety, Depression, and Absenteeism. J. Environ. Public Health 2012, 1–21 (2012).
[3] Chu, A. H. Y., Koh, D., Moy, F. M. & Muller-Riemenschneider, F. Do workplace physical activity interventions improve mental health outcomes? Occup. Med. (Chic. Ill). 64, 235–245 (2014).
[4] Buck Consultants, Working Well: A Global Survey Of Health Promotion And Workplace Wellness Strategies. 2009. Print. Executive Summary.
[5] Towers Watson, Trends And Directions On Workforce Health And Productivity. 2014. Print. 2013/2014 Staying@Work Survey.