While nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of health benefits plan sponsors agree their work environment supports musculoskeletal health, two-thirds (65 per cent) of plan members say their work environment contributes to aches and pains, according to the 2023 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey.

It found when plan sponsors were provided with details about the impact of musculoskeletal conditions, a third (34 per cent) said their benefits plan provides enough coverage for musculoskeletal care and treatment. However, two-fifths (39 per cent) said it doesn’t and a quarter (26 per cent) said they didn’t know.

“I’m not surprised so many employees say their workplace is a source of aches and pains,” said Marc Duplessis, senior manager of total rewards at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada and a member of the survey’s advisory board, in the report. “Support goes far beyond appropriate coverage levels for paramedicals. Ergonomic work environments are also a must for employees to perform at their best. For employees with chronic pain, we recently began offering treatment onsite and workplace injuries dropped quite a bit.”

Read: How remote, hybrid working arrangements are affecting musculoskeletal issues

The survey also found 29 per cent of plan sponsors said they provide up to $500 in annual coverage for paramedical services, while 27 per cent said they provide between $502 and $1,000, a quarter (23 per cent) provide between $1,001 and $5,000 and just seven per cent provide more than $5,000. This translates into an average of $1,215. When plan sponsors that don’t provide paramedical coverage (11 per cent) were excluded, the average increased to $1,364.

The overall average annual maximum for organizations with fewer than 50 employees was $757, compared to $1,371 for organizations with more staff. Employers that sponsor flexible benefits plans ($1,424) had higher annual maximums than traditional plans ($1,066).

Regionally, Alberta ($729) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan ($680) had the lowest annual maximums for paramedical services, while Ontario ($1,513) and Atlantic Canada ($1,690) had the highest.

Read: Employers seeing paramedical claims return to pre-pandemic levels