TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC SEHK:945WATERLOO, ON, July 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Manulife has entered into a three year sponsorship as the Mental Health at Work ® Champion of Excellence with Excellence Canada to help improve the mental health of Canadians within the workplace. Manulife will work with Excellence Canada to further promote and administer the program for organizations across Canada. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, more than 6.7 million people in Canada are living with a mental health problem or illness today. There is strong evidence that improved management of mental health in the workplace, including prevention and early action to combat stress and identify problems can significantly decrease productivity losses. "By creating further awareness about tools and resources that are easily accessible, Canadians will have the ability to adequately deal with mental health issues within the workplace", said Kathy McIlwham, VP Group Life and Disability at Manulife. "In addition to sponsoring this program we are proud to be participating in the program as well, helping Manulife to be a healthier workplace for our employees." This sponsorship is another example of Manulife's strong commitment to mental health as part of a comprehensive health, wellness, and disability strategy that covers the entire health continuum. Manulife recently announced the creation of an industry first Mental Health Specialist Team to help plan members receive the help needed. Manulife's commitment to positive mental health has been recognized by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), who recently accepted Manulife into a three-year pilot as an early adopter of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace - Prevention, Promotion, and Guidance to Staged Implementation. "Considering all the effort and investment that goes into providing employees with the most up-to-date tools, training, software, and technology, it makes absolute sense for employers to invest in protecting and improving the most valuable asset that will make a difference to the business - employees' healthy minds." said Allan Ebedes, President and CEO of Excellence Canada. "We are seeking out and celebrating role-model organizations that are acting upon the research and scientific evidence about Mental Health at Work ®, not only to improve their own organizational results but also to improve the quality of life of employees and their families." For over 20 years, Excellence Canada has been helping organizations to achieve the highest levels of workplace health: first, by establishing frameworks and standards of role-model performance; second, by promoting and raising awareness; and third, by training and coaching people to embrace and attain a culture of health and wellness. Through its independent verification processes and awards programs, Excellence Canada certifies and celebrates organizations that have achieved sustainable and continual improvement, supported by measurable outcomes.