Manulife transforms the Group Benefits experience in Canada

  • Manulife expands ground-breaking Vitality program to Group Benefits customers
  • Launches new preventative health opioid management program
  • Advances the future of medicine using new technology and innovations

Toronto, ON (May 9, 2019) – Employee benefits plans have changed very little in recent years and Manulife — which serves one in three Canadians and is one of the largest benefits providers in Canada — is at the forefront of changing that for the better. Committed to be the most digital, customer-centric company in its industry, Manulife is bringing together new technology and innovative thinking to truly transform the benefits experience for Canadians.

Manulife Vitality for Group Benefits

Manulife Vitality is changing the experience of benefits programs beginning this July. Using the latest technology, data analytics, and personalized solutions, the program helps customers track healthy activities and earn the potential for rewards and discounts. The Company has also signed a pledge with Vitality and other global leaders to help make 100 million people around the world more active by 2025.

Through the program, customers track healthy activities using a customized, goal-oriented program; with higher activity level, customers can improve their health and well-being — and earn the potential for rewards and discounts.

“Chronic health conditions are on the rise in Canada and, in combination with an aging population, could soon reach economically unsustainable levels,”[1] said Donna Carbell, Head of Group Benefits, Manulife (Canada). “We are on a mission to help people and organizations become healthier, so employees can be their best at work, feel happier, and be more engaged.”

Opioid Management Program

There’s an opioid crisis in Canada and every day, 11 people in Canada die from an opioid overdose.[2] Personalized solutions matter, and Manulife has developed a new, two-step opioid management program focused on prevention and early intervention. Step one ensures patients start opioid treatment with a short-term supply; step two encourages the use of short-acting opioids first. Working together, these steps ensure side effects, risk tolerance, and dependence get monitored earlier, helping reduce the risk of chronic use.

“We believe in promoting the safe and smart use of opioids, especially for people who are using them for the first time, or who haven’t used opioids regularly,” said Carbell. “Through a much more holistic approach, we hope people will be better able to recover sooner, and with less chance of addiction or additional health issues caused by overuse. When fewer plan members need ongoing, long-term treatment, their plan’s drug costs and addiction management costs are lower.”

The opioid management program is just one example of ways Manulife is engaged in providing customer experiences that focus first and foremost on improved health outcomes.

Future of Medicine and On-demand Access to Medical Consultants

Finding the right medication to treat certain conditions can be a frustrating trial-and-error process and as many as 50 per cent of medications go unused because of unpleasant adverse effects.[3] Manulife recently piloted a program to explore how a person’s genes can affect their body’s response to medications, specifically those used to treat depression, pain, or anxiety. Preliminary results show 51 per cent of prescriptions were changed (either the dosage or medication), following genetic testing. The pilot continues and will help determine if considering a person’s genetics can support the treatment and recovery process — and help people return to health, regular life, and work sooner.

Manulife is also working with Akira Health to make healthcare more accessible to Group Benefits customers through a new service called Healthcare Online. This allows Manulife to increase Canadians’ access to virtual medical consults with knowledgeable, friendly clinicians, anytime and anywhere.

Manulife continues to develop new technologies like smart pill bottles and virtual health solutions. Learn more on how Manulife is delivering on digital, customer-centric innovations by visiting


All amounts are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

1. What behavioural economics has to teach us about creating a healthier Canada (Donna Carbell, Head of Group Benefits, Manulife Canada).

2. Canada’s opioid crisis (Government of Canada, Apr. 17, 2019).

3. Will Pharmacogenetics Help Your Health? (Pat Allen,, Oct. 23, 2016).

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. We operate primarily as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2018, we had more than 34,000 employees, over 82,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving almost 28 million customers. As of March 31, 2019, we had over $1.1 trillion (US$849 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $29.4 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States are where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong. For more information, visit

Group Benefit products and services are offered by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife).

About Vitality

The Vitality Group Inc., in association with The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, provides the Manulife Vitality program. Vitality is a trademark of Vitality Group International, Inc., and is used by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and its affiliates under license. Manulife, Manulife & Stylized M Design, and Stylized M Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, and are used by it, The Vitality Group and its affiliates under license. PO Box 2580, STN B Montreal QC H3B 5C6. For more information, please visit

Source: Manulife Financial Corporation

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