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Health Systems Group Our History
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Our History

HSG is proud of our history and commitment to enhancing the vitality, productivity and resilience of people and organizations.

Health Systems Group (HSG) was founded in 1978 on the belief that we can all experience a happier and more productive life if we are healthy. At the heart of this belief is that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own wellbeing. HSG’s products and services enable individuals to become healthier and more productive.
We chose to work within organizational settings. Starting with corporations and then with building owners and managers in clusters of companies in campus-like developments, we have now evolved to serving people within community centres and post-secondary educational institutions, as well commercial club operations. We have had the opportunity to associate with many different groups since our inception. Each has contributed in its own way to HSG’s evolution in the field of Fitness and Wellness services to organizations.
The focus of our work within the organizations we serve is to make a positive difference in the lives of its members (or ‘constituents’) … to inspire them to enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, and to ignite the spark that motivates them to make ‘choices FOR health’; to be fit and ‘Active for Life’ – while achieving desired financial and business objectives for the owners.

Major milestones:

1
1978-1983
  • In the first 5 years of operations, HSG was almost exclusively in the Employee Fitness business, starting in Waterloo, Ontario and then expanding to Calgary and Toronto.
3
1985-86
  • HSG was part of a large medical services firm. Observations of the Executive Medical process during this period reinforced for HSG, the importance of wellness as a health management strategy for employers.
5
1988-1995
  • HSG became a wholly-owned subsidiary of a large insurance company.
  • Through this experience, HSG worked closely with the Vice President, Actuary, to develop a Cost/Benefit model for demonstrating the payback of fitness/wellness programs in the workplace as it related to reduced insurance utilization in the various employee benefit streams.
  • When the Canadian Group operation was sold off to another insurance company, HSG was sold back to Mr. Cowan, Founder & CEO of Health Systems Group.
7
1999-2000
  • HSG completed a Business Case for Active Living in the Workplace under contract to Health Canada. HSG’s ability to develop this work was based on best practices research and years of experience gained with organizations across Canada.
  • It was about this time also when we began web-enabling our Health Promotion programs and Health Audit survey instruments.
9
2002-2004
  • HSG partnered with a hospital in Metro Toronto to provide them with a comprehensive Wellness Program focused on assisting the hospital to rebuild a positive health culture after a traumatic experience with SARS. This led to a more rigorous understanding and application of the principles of Organizational Health, including a healthy workplace culture as described in the work of fellow Pioneer award winners Dr.’s Graham Lowe, Martin Shain and Linda Duxbury.
11
2008
  • HSG’s Customer Service standards and systems have been developed internally, based on best practices, and are under continuous improvement.
  • HSG was honoured to receive the 2008 International Service Excellence Award from the Council of Customer Service Organizations.
  • Service Excellence is one of our highest priorities and is an integral part of the HSG brand.
13
2013-2015
  • HSG began to expand its business of consulting to the Municipal Recreation sector, particularly with large multiplexes.
  • Our work with municipalities includes: Operational Reviews, Business Planning and Strategic Forecasting.
  • Due to our extensive internal commitment to Training & Development, we are able to provide these services to our customers particularly in the area of Customer Service, and Marketing & Sales Training adapted to the not-for-profit sector.
14
2015-2018
  • By 2018, we have worked with 15 different municipalities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  The majority of our work has been in Operational Consulting, completing audits of a Recreation Department’s operations, particularly in Fitness, Aquatics, Arena Management, Price Analysis, Cost Recovery Models and Strategic Planning.
  • Our work with Building Owners & Managers has also continued to increase so that by 2018 we are managing 20 fitness facilities, with 10 different Developers and Property Managers in three different provinces.
  • Beginning in 2016 we were privileged to begin work with the global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging, located in Toronto.  HSG was contracted initially to provide programs for Older Adult Active Aging; but our long-term assignment is evolving beyond that, in step with their innovative research.
2
1983-86
  • HSG was an integral part of an Occupational Health firm. HSG learned how to apply its work to the overall objectives of the early recovery and rehabilitation process in corporations.
  • It was during this time also that HSG began developing its own brand of Health Promotion products in Nutrition & Weight Control, Stress Abatement, Office Ergonomics, Back Care, etc.
4
1986-89
  • HSG began applying our corporate fitness approach to the development and management of commercial facilities.
  • Beginning with a club in Toronto, and following with clubs in Calgary, HSG focused on achieving a high level of member service and financial outcomes for our clients.
6
1995-1998
  • HSG had a 3-year licensing agreement with a major pharmaceutical company to provide our Health Profile product. Also, during this time we developed our HealthAudit instrument for evaluating the operational procedures in organizations in the areas of disability management, utilization controls, demand management, early detection and health promotion.
  • It was during this period when HSG also began managing the fitness and recreation operations of non-profit organizations, beginning with an Ontario community college.
8
2000-2001
  • HSG completed work on our first version of Club Audit, a comprehensive review instrument for evaluating the operations of large fitness and recreation clubs and comparing them to industry best practices. HSG continues to use it in many different applications, including assessing the integrity of our own projects.
10
2004-2007
  • HSG began a Management Services partnership with a Community Centre in Toronto, affording us the opportunity to apply our Club Management experience to another not-for-profit association. This has subsequently expanded to three other locations: one in Montreal and two more in the Toronto area, along with Consulting assignments with other associations in other parts of Canada.
  • This marked a period when HSG began to systematically build Management Standards & Practices that could be applied in any organizational setting. The first comprehensive system we developed was in Customer Service SERVE RIGHT.
12
2008-2012
  • While HSG’s business continued to grow, we began to focus on the systematic documentation of the methods and best practices (beyond Customer Service) that we use in Consulting and Management with our Client organizations.
  • We defined Program Excellence in the areas of General Fitness, Group Exercise, Personal Training, Aquatics, Athletics, and Arena Management.
  • We created systems for Staff Selection & Empowerment, focusing on exemplary hiring, orientation, training & development and performance management practices.
  • We developed standards and resources for Effective Operations, especially Member Services, Marketing & Sales, Finance & Administration, and Strategic Planning.
1978-1983
  • In the first 5 years of operations, HSG was almost exclusively in the Employee Fitness business, starting in Waterloo, Ontario and then expanding to Calgary and Toronto.
1983-86
  • HSG was an integral part of an Occupational Health firm. HSG learned how to apply its work to the overall objectives of the early recovery and rehabilitation process in corporations.
  • It was during this time also that HSG began developing its own brand of Health Promotion products in Nutrition & Weight Control, Stress Abatement, Office Ergonomics, Back Care, etc.
1985-86
  • HSG was part of a large medical services firm. Observations of the Executive Medical process during this period reinforced for HSG, the importance of wellness as a health management strategy for employers.
1986-89
  • HSG began applying our corporate fitness approach to the development and management of commercial facilities.
  • Beginning with a club in Toronto, and following with clubs in Calgary, HSG focused on achieving a high level of member service and financial outcomes for our clients.
1988-1995
  • HSG became a wholly-owned subsidiary of a large insurance company.
  • Through this experience, HSG worked closely with the Vice President, Actuary, to develop a Cost/Benefit model for demonstrating the payback of fitness/wellness programs in the workplace as it related to reduced insurance utilization in the various employee benefit streams.
  • When the Canadian Group operation was sold off to another insurance company, HSG was sold back to Mr. Cowan, Founder & CEO of Health Systems Group.
1995-1998
  • HSG had a 3-year licensing agreement with a major pharmaceutical company to provide our Health Profile product. Also, during this time we developed our HealthAudit instrument for evaluating the operational procedures in organizations in the areas of disability management, utilization controls, demand management, early detection and health promotion.
  • It was during this period when HSG also began managing the fitness and recreation operations of non-profit organizations, beginning with an Ontario community college.
1999-2000
  • HSG completed a Business Case for Active Living in the Workplace under contract to Health Canada. HSG’s ability to develop this work was based on best practices research and years of experience gained with organizations across Canada.
  • It was about this time also when we began web-enabling our Health Promotion programs and Health Audit survey instruments.
2000-2001
  • HSG completed work on our first version of Club Audit, a comprehensive review instrument for evaluating the operations of large fitness and recreation clubs and comparing them to industry best practices. HSG continues to use it in many different applications, including assessing the integrity of our own projects.
2002-2004
  • HSG partnered with a hospital in Metro Toronto to provide them with a comprehensive Wellness Program focused on assisting the hospital to rebuild a positive health culture after a traumatic experience with SARS. This led to a more rigorous understanding and application of the principles of Organizational Health, including a healthy workplace culture as described in the work of fellow Pioneer award winners Dr.’s Graham Lowe, Martin Shain and Linda Duxbury.
2004-2007
  • HSG began a Management Services partnership with a Community Centre in Toronto, affording us the opportunity to apply our Club Management experience to another not-for-profit association. This has subsequently expanded to three other locations: one in Montreal and two more in the Toronto area, along with Consulting assignments with other associations in other parts of Canada.
  • This marked a period when HSG began to systematically build Management Standards & Practices that could be applied in any organizational setting. The first comprehensive system we developed was in Customer Service SERVE RIGHT.
2008
  • HSG’s Customer Service standards and systems have been developed internally, based on best practices, and are under continuous improvement.
  • HSG was honoured to receive the 2008 International Service Excellence Award from the Council of Customer Service Organizations.
  • Service Excellence is one of our highest priorities and is an integral part of the HSG brand.
2008-2012
  • While HSG’s business continued to grow, we began to focus on the systematic documentation of the methods and best practices (beyond Customer Service) that we use in Consulting and Management with our Client organizations.
  • We defined Program Excellence in the areas of General Fitness, Group Exercise, Personal Training, Aquatics, Athletics, and Arena Management.
  • We created systems for Staff Selection & Empowerment, focusing on exemplary hiring, orientation, training & development and performance management practices.
  • We developed standards and resources for Effective Operations, especially Member Services, Marketing & Sales, Finance & Administration, and Strategic Planning.
2013-2015
  • HSG began to expand its business of consulting to the Municipal Recreation sector, particularly with large multiplexes.
  • Our work with municipalities includes: Operational Reviews, Business Planning and Strategic Forecasting.
  • Due to our extensive internal commitment to Training & Development, we are able to provide these services to our customers particularly in the area of Customer Service, and Marketing & Sales Training adapted to the not-for-profit sector.
2015-2018
  • By 2018, we have worked with 15 different municipalities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  The majority of our work has been in Operational Consulting, completing audits of a Recreation Department’s operations, particularly in Fitness, Aquatics, Arena Management, Price Analysis, Cost Recovery Models and Strategic Planning.
  • Our work with Building Owners & Managers has also continued to increase so that by 2018 we are managing 20 fitness facilities, with 10 different Developers and Property Managers in three different provinces.
  • Beginning in 2016 we were privileged to begin work with the global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging, located in Toronto.  HSG was contracted initially to provide programs for Older Adult Active Aging; but our long-term assignment is evolving beyond that, in step with their innovative research.