WINDSOR, ONT. -- With a focus on acknowledging the challenges that go along with the COVID-19 pandemic, 31 local organizations received awards for providing a healthy workplace.

The annual Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony was held virtually on Wednesday with local businesses in attendance online.  For the first time in the awards ceremony’s 18-year history, winners accepted their awards over a conferencing system.

“We’re so pleased to have been recognized for its commitment to support the health, safety and well-being of its community, in response to the pandemic,” says Downtown Windsor BIA Chair Brian Yeomans, one of the award recipients Wednesday. “We’ve done our best to promote a positive public image for our businesses and workplaces in the downtown core.”

In previous years, organizers hosted the healthy workplace award breakfast to recognize local organizations for offering wide-ranging workplace wellness activities and initiatives to promote “positive lifestyle behaviours” among their staff.

Given the efforts local businesses have gone through to keep employees and the public safe throughout the pandemic, the awards shifted focus for 2020 to acknowledge the challenges and opportunities related to operating while maintaining public health.

This year, three key areas were highlighted in the awards application. Health and Safety, Mental Health Promotion, and Organizational Social Responsibility during the pandemic were all considered. Applicants were to provide examples of measures that were put in place to support employee and community well-being.

In addition to the awards ceremony, recipients enjoyed a keynote presentation from psychology professor, published author, TEDx speaker, and retired psychologist, Dr. Andrea Dinardo.

The revamped Healthy Workplace Awards program included member agencies of the local Working Toward Wellness Committee, along with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Family Services Windsor-Essex, and the Canadian Mental Health Association - Windsor-Essex County Branch.

Committee members recognized 31 local workplaces across various sectors. A full list of all winners is available here.