Mental Health . . . The Other Pandemic

One in five (22%) self assess their mental health as poor while one-quarter (27%)
indicate extreme to high levels of daily stress

One in four (27%) report experiencing workplace discrimination

Employers view mental-health claims as most significant long-term impact of
COVID pandemic on health benefits plans

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2022 /CNW/ – According to the 25th annual Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey, released today:

  • One in five (22%) Canadians with a workplace health benefits plan describe their personal mental health over the last year as being poor. This is double the proportion who rate their general health in the same way (10%).
  • One in four (27%) score their personal daily stress over the previous three months as extreme or very high. While this level is down from a pandemic high of 35 per cent last year, high stress still has a very significant impact on Canadians and Canadian workplaces.
    • This rate more than doubles (56%) among those who indicate their mental health is poor.
    • Personal finances remain the top stressor (35%) for respondents, followed by workload (30%) and work-life balance (30%).
  • While three-quarters (75%) of respondents report that their employer supports a mentally well workplace, when probed, just (61%) believe their employer is effective in helping manage and deal with stress and just half (49%) feel this way regarding their employer’s effectiveness in helping deal with mental-health issues such as depression or anxiety.
  • On their part, an increasing number of employers that offer health benefits plans indicate they provide training for their managers and/or employees to help recognize and respond appropriately to signs of depression or other mental illnesses (58%, up from 48% last year).
  • Looking at other issues that could impact mental health, one-quarter (27%) report they have experienced discrimination in the workplace.
    • Among this group, a very significant proportion (43%) also indicate extreme to high rates of daily stress.
  • Asked what aspect of the pandemic will have the most significant long-term impacts on their health benefits plans over the next five years, employers anticipate it will be mental-health claims among their employees (37%), excluding those who suffer or suffered from COVID-19.
    • In second spot are all of the claims (including mental health) among those who suffered/suffer from COVID-19 (30%).
    • Further down the list, 26 per cent indicate the costs associated with mental-health claims for their employees’ dependants will be among the top long-term impacts of the pandemic.

These are just some of the findings of this year’s Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey report entitled Charting New Paths: The role of the workplace and health benefits plans to help navigate a post-pandemic world.”  To download the full report please go to:


2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the Benefits Canada Healthcare SurveyCanada’s premier survey on workplace health benefits plans. Over the last quarter century, the report has captured the opinions of more than 37,000 Canadian group health benefits plan members.  As stated in the original report, the survey’s purpose is “to provide information that does not currently exist, to help our partners in health care, whether they are plan sponsors, benefits consultants, insurance companies or pharmacy benefit managers, better meet the needs of Canadians that depend on them.” What makes this research valuable is that the results are discussed and analyzed by an advisory board of industry experts, including benefits consultants, insurance companies and plan sponsors, providing key insights into what the data means for the industry. These insights are incorporated into the report. This year’s survey also demonstrates how COVID-19 has complicated matters on the one hand, while providing a clearer sense of direction on the other.

This project would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors:

Diamond Sponsors:  Beneva; Blue Cross; Canada Life; CarePath Digital Health; Desjardin’s Insurance; RBC Insurance; Sun Life; Telus Health

Platinum Sponsors: Canadian Chiropractic Association; CloudMD Services & Software; Equitable Life of Canada; Green Shields Canada; iA Financial Group; People Corporation; Rexall; Health Solutions by Shoppers

Founding Sponsor: Sanofi Canada

Survey Methodology

The results are based on an online survey conducted in April 2022 of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 primary holders of a workplace health benefits plan. The questionnaire was developed by Contex Group/Benefits Canada and fielded by Ipsos using a random sample drawn from the 200,000+ members of the Ipsos Canadian i-Say Panel. The total results of a probability sample of this size would be considered accurate to within +/-3.1%, with 95% certainty of what they would have been had the entire population of Canadian plan members been polled. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure that the age, gender and regional composition of the sample reflect those of the adult working population according to the 2016 Census data. In addition, Contex Group and Maru/Blue fielded a separate online survey in April 2022 with 553 benefits plan sponsor decision-makers from across the country. The data was statistically weighted to accurately reflect the geographic distribution of business and business size according Industry Canada.

About Benefits Canada:

Benefits Canada, celebrating it’s 45th year, is the country’s original and most influential pension and benefits publication for key decision-makers in Canadian workplaces. Senior finance executives, pension board trustees, benefits professionals, managers and industry specialists turn to the magazine to help them make informed decisions about their pension and benefits plans.

About Context Group:

Contex Group’s mission is to “inform, connect and inspire through a variety of content specially designed to help business people, professionals and organizations develop and reach their full potential.” Contex Group is a Canadian leader in the creation of conferences, exhibitions and training and a publisher of prestigious publications and websites aimed at a variety of business audiences. The company operates through several major brands, including Benefits Canada, Avantages, Les Affaires and Contech Bâtiment.

SOURCE Benefits Canada

For further information: Justin Graham, Senior manager, content research, Contex Group, [email protected]


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