LAVAL, Que.―The majority of workers in Canada would choose health benefits over cold hard cash, according to a new survey by Sanofi, a Quebec-based healthcare solutions provider.
It found 59 per cent of group health benefit plan members would rather keep their plan than receive $10,000.
Even if that amount doubled, 48 per cent would still choose the benefits plan.
The results highlight the importance of health benefits across all sectors in Canadian workplaces, says Hugh O’Neill, president and CEO.
“Better healthcare plans mean healthier employees, better productivity and less pressure on Canada’s public healthcare system,” he adds.
But many companies don’t seem to be catching on. Only 23 per cent of respondents reported that their employers promote or provide wellness programs―a decline from 31 per cent two years ago.
“This slide is very concerning. There is an undeniable need to better engage Canadians, both in their work, and in their own health,” says Chris Bonnett, a member of the survey’s advisory board and president of H3 Consulting, a Toronto-based firm that helps workplaces develop health strategies.
Bonnett says many employers support wellness programs, but they need to make sure that any investments they make are relevant and effective for workers.
Employers could, for instance, measure how reduced absenteeism and disability claims lead to increased productivity.
There’s also a larger role for government to play in supporting employers that adopt health and fitness initiatives, according to 86 per cent of respondents.
Bonnett says all members of Canada’s workforce, from managers to unions, must take responsibility for workplace wellness.