MARCH 30, 2023

Nearly half of workers in Canada are feeling overwhelmed by debt

The latest Mental Health Index reveals the largest monthly decline in mental health among workers in Canada since April 2020.

TORONTO - TELUS Health (formerly LifeWorks), today released a special report on Financial Wellbeing as part of its Mental Health Index revealing workers in Canada are feeling uncertain about their financial future. Notably, the Index found that 26 per cent of workers in Canada are unsure if they will be financially comfortable in the future.
The Index found that workers in Canada are experiencing increasing strain with unfavourable mental health and financial wellbeing scores.
  • The Mental Health Index score for February 2023 is 62.9 points out of 100, a noteworthy decline of almost two points from January 2023, which is the largest decline in a single month since April 2020.
  • The Financial Wellbeing Index score for February 2023 is 61.3 points out of 100, a more than two-point decline from July 2022.
Workers in Canada are uncertain about their financial future and feel overwhelmed by debt, yet many are embarrassed to seek support.
  • Forty-five per cent of individuals have felt overwhelmed by debt.
  • Sixty-one per cent of workers in Canada who have felt overwhelmed by debt have not reached out for financial advice or coaching for debt, with 21 per cent citing feeling embarrassed as their reasoning.
  • Of those who have reached out for financial advice or coaching for debt, only four per cent have done so through their employee and family assistance program (EFAP).
Workers in Canada believe a range of financial support would be valuable if offered by their employer.
  • Forty per cent of workers in Canada report automatic savings/investment plans would be valuable if offered by their employer.
  • Thirteen per cent of individuals report personal financial advice would be the most valuable if offered by their employer, followed by 12 per cent who report a hardship or emergency fund would be most valuable.
  • Thirty-six per cent of individuals would leave their employer for another if they offered a guaranteed income pension plan.
Comments from TELUS Health Chief Growth Officer, Juggy Sihota
“Working Canadians are feeling the rising cost of living and are increasingly worried about their financial future, especially when it comes to repaying debt and saving for retirement. Through this period of uncertainty, workers are looking to be supported in ways they may not have been in the past. It’s important for employers to be aware of this shift, and make adjustments that allow them to attract and retain talented workers. Employers can adapt by making financial savings and investment plans available, as well as consultation services to help educate and empower their employees.”
Comments from TELUS Health Global Leader, Business & Client Insights, Paula Allen
“This month, we saw the largest decline in mental health scores since April 2020. Many signs point to the rise in inflation as the main reason for this drop, given we know how important a sense of personal control is to mental health and wellbeing. The economic changes, on top of existing challenges we’ve been facing over the past three years, have made nearly half of workers in Canada more sensitive to stress. Resources such as employee assistance programs and financial wellbeing programs have never been more important; however many are under-communicated. This is the time to change that.”
The full Canadian Mental Health Index report can be found
. This month, the report includes additional insights on the negative impact of prior recessions, savings accumulation during the pandemic, investing/retirement planning and more.
About the Mental Health Index
The survey by TELUS Health was conducted through an online survey in English and French from February 10 to 28, 2023 with 3,000 respondents in Canada. All respondents reside in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index is published monthly, beginning April 2020.
The Mental Health Index is based on a response scoring system that then turns individual responses into point values. Higher point values are associated with better mental health and less mental health risk. Scores between 0 to 49 correspond with distress levels, scores between 50 to 79 correspond with strain levels and scores between 80 to 100 correspond with optimal levels of mental health.
About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a global health care leader serving people in more than 160 countries delivering both digital innovation and clinical services to improve total physical, mental and financial health and wellness across the full spectrum of primary and preventative care. By leveraging the power of technology to deliver connected solutions and services both in-person and virtually, TELUS Health is improving access to care and revolutionizing the flow of information while facilitating collaboration, efficiency, and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied health care professionals, insurers, employers and people globally, progressing its vision of transforming health care and empowering people to live healthier lives.
Our clinical team is composed of renowned and passionate health professionals around the world delivering best-in-class people-centric care to hundreds of thousands of employers, professionals and their families.
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Media contact:
Jill Yetman
TELUS Media Relations
[email protected]