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January 12, 2022
CANADIANS LEVERAGE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Canadians are planning to leverage their employee benefits to take back control of their physical and mental health in 2022, says a report from Dialogue Health Technologies and Environics Research. The second annual ‘Canadian Attitudes on Health and Virtual Care Report’ shows 82 per cent of Canadians are committing to taking better care of themselves and 39 per cent plan on using their employee benefits to help them translate their new-found health and wellness consciousness into action. As well, as a result of the pandemic 56 per cent of Canadians are more conscious, now than before, of their health with 25 per cent of Canadians indicating the pandemic has worsened their overall health, while almost half (45 per cent) said that mental health concerns like stress and anxiety have worsened as a result of the pandemic. Employee benefits were identified as a key driver for Canadians working to get back on track with their physical and mental health goals. However, many are still unclear about what benefits they have, how to access them, or whether they adequately meet their healthcare needs. The study found 26 per cent do not know how to access their employee benefits and 24 per cent of Canadians with benefit plans indicated that the mental health support available in their benefit plan is not sufficient, while 17 per cent indicated that they aren’t even aware of what mental health resources are available in their employee benefits plan.
January 12, 2022
FUNDING IMPROVES FOR TYPICAL PLAN
The funded positions of a typical plan improved on both solvency and accounting bases over the month of December, ending 2021 in a significantly better position relative to December 31, 2020, says the LifeWorks Pension Indices, December 2021 report. Over the course of 2021, most pension plans benefited from the combination of positive equity returns and increasing bond yields, the latter helping to push liability measures lower. In December, investment returns were positive. A typical pension plan achieved a return of approximately 2.6 per cent. Canadian as well as foreign equity markets largely rose as worries surrounding Omicron appeared to abate. Returns for Canadian bond indices were also positive, as yields decreased across the curve. Corporate credit spreads remained broadly stable. In 2022, plan sponsors continue to face considerable financial market uncertainty, as the accounting pension expense index shows an anticipated 22 per cent reduction in this year’s pension expense as compared to December 31, 2020.