Despite all of the worries over costs, more than half of employers surveyed by Benefits Canada expect benefits to be more generous 20 years from now.

The research, undertaken by Benefits Canada as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, found 51 per cent of 191 executives at Canadian companies surveyed this spring hold that view. Another 37 per cent of respondents expect reduced or non-existent benefits in 2037, with just nine per cent expecting them to be about the same as today.

Read: How do Canadian executives see the future of pensions and benefits?

Respondents cited health-care spending accounts (70 per cent) as the most common benefit in the future, followed by flexible benefits plans (65 per cent), wellness programs (61 per cent), group registered retirement savings plans (60 per cent), tax-free savings accounts (52 per cent) and defined contribution pensions (50 per cent).

The research also found 56 per cent of respondents anticipate more choice and customization for employers in the future, while 55 per cent expect a greater focus on cost-effectiveness and return on investment. Asked to identify some of the benefits that will be more common in the future, executives cited help with childcare costs (40 per cent); contributions to registered education savings plans (30 per cent); assistance with paying back student loans (28 per cent); pet insurance (14 per cent); and support to pay down mortgages (11 per cent).

A large majority (81 per cent) expect that in order to attract and retain employees in the future, organizations will need to offer more benefit options that may be viewed as perks. A similar majority (84 per cent) said that to attract, retain and reward employees, it’s acceptable to offer such benefits.

Read: What are the goals of massage therapy as an employee benefit?

But on the topic of massage therapy, just 20 per cent of respondents agree with covering it even if it’s a perk that keeps employees happy and helps with attraction and retention. Another 44 per cent believe in covering massage therapy as a preventative measure that keeps employees productive and helps to reduce absenteeism. A further 28 per cent believe plans should cover it only if there’s a medical reason. Just seven per cent said they don’t cover massage therapy as part of their benefits plan.

For full coverage of and commentary on the survey results, see “How do Canadian executives see the future of pensions and benefits” from the June issue of Benefits Canada.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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