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February 2, 2022

ATTITUDES TO MENTAL ILLNESS SHIFT

As attitudes around health and wellness among employees and employers continue to shift, the number of working Canadians who view mental illnesses as a disability has hit a new high, says an RBC Insurance survey. It shows more Canadians now consider depression (54 per cent) and anxiety (44 per cent) to be disabilities, the highest figures respectively since 2019. “Over the years, we have seen more and more Canadians recognizing that disabilities can be mental, and not just physical in nature,” says Maria Winslow, senior director, life and health, at RBC Insurance. “This is an important shift, particularly as people continue to deal with the ongoing stresses of the pandemic and they continue to report a decline in their mental health.” The importance of mental health to overall wellbeing is further underscored by survey results that found Canadians reporting poor mental health (32 per cent) were more likely to take time off due to disability than those who report good mental health (12 per cent). Among working Canadians, feelings of burnout were the main source of stress (42 per cent), indicating the potential impacts of the pandemic such as fear, uncertainty, and instability around work and home life. Finances, and income protection if they get sick or have COVID-19 was the second highest stressor for nearly as many (39 per cent), followed by increased work hours/workload (33 per cent). However, feelings of stress or anxiety were significantly lower among those with support in place; Canadians who had a group benefits plan (60 per cent) and bought their own disability coverage (66 per cent) were more likely to rate their mental health as excellent or good.

February 2, 2022

AIMCO OUTPERFORMS BENCHMARKS

AIMCo’s second quarter investment report shows it had a 2.4 per cent return over the quarter, outperforming the benchmark returns of 1.4 per cent by one per cent. The one-year return was 16.5 per cent, surpassing the benchmark of 10.3 per cent by 6.2 per cent, while the 10-year return of 10.1 per cent, surpassed the benchmark of 9.6 per cent by 0.5 per cent. Dale MacMaster, CIO of the organization which manages the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, says returns like these have not been seen in decades. “We’d have to go back to the early ’90s to see similar returns,” he says. The contributors to the fund’s investment performance were the exceptional returns from private equity and public equities, he says. Markets rallied as earnings recovered and investors grew more confident in the COVID-19 situation. Income from the fund, valued at $18.4 billion on September 30, 2021, funds Albertans’ priorities like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. AIMCo is the fund’s investment manager.

February 2, 2022