Providing benefits is a large expense for employers

Spending on employee benefits is a a significant expense for Canadian companies—the average cost of providing benefits for a full-time employee is $8,330.

These are the findings of a Conference Board of Canada survey.

“With the prevalence of chronic disease and incidence of mental health issues increasing, the costs of benefits have never been higher,” says Nicole Stewart, senior research associate, Leadership and Human Resources Research for The Conference Board of Canada. “Employer-sponsored benefits are valued by employees, but in order to control costs, organizations are going to need to make tough decisions about where to best allocate funds.”

To contain these costs, companies are turning to generic options for prescription medicines, eliminating coverage of certain drugs or increasing the employee share of premiums.

Employers are also implementing physical and mental health wellness programs as well as early assessment and intervention.

Additionally, organizations are limiting some long-term benefits, such as retiree benefits. More than half of Canadian companies provide these benefits, which focus mainly on covering prescription drugs, vision care, hospital stays, and dental and paramedical care.

The survey also shows more than 90% of organizations offer vision care for full-time employees.

Ninety-six percent of employers offer private or semi-private hospital accommodation.

Ninety-nine percent provide out-of-country medical coverage.

Ninety-nine percent offer paramedical services like massage therapy, chiropractic coverage, and physiotherapy.

Eighty-nine percent of employers provide major restorative dental services.

Ninety-one percent provide accidental death and dismemberment coverage. And ninety-nine percent provide long-term disability benefits.