The important conversation Canadian workers aren’t having: The financial impact of becoming disabled

Sun Life finds that Gen Y has the biggest health related challenges with productivity and attendance

Toronto, ON (Nov. 12, 2015) – New findings from the 2015 Sun Life Canadian Health Index indicate that an overwhelming majority of Canadians (more than four in five) believe that employers are responsible for supporting their employees’ physical and psychological health.

“It is striking that our results show that 84% of Canadians say that employers are responsible for supporting their employees’ physical health and that 86% feel the same way when asked about psychological health,” says Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada.

When the results are looked at by age group, almost two out of five Gen Y respondents believe their employer has a significant responsibility for their employees’ physical health (38%), as well as for their psychological health (37%), which was higher than any other age group.

The 2015 survey also found that there is a clear relationship between health and employee productivity among those surveyed. More than one-third (35%) of Canadians say that their productivity at work has been negatively affected by their physical or mental health in the last six months.

Gen Y respondents were most likely to report that experience: 47% said their health had negatively impacted their work productivity in the last six months, compared with 30% of Late Boomers and 26% of Early Boomers.

Understanding this strong connection between health and productivity in the workplace, Canadian companies working with Sun Life are taking steps to support their employees’ health.

“We recognise how important it is to invest in our people at Rogers by supporting their physical, mental, and financial well-being, and we’re taking action,” says Dr. David Satok, Medical Director at Rogers Communications. “Results from a diabetes screening clinic pilot indicated that 79% of participants said they planned to make changes to their lifestyle after learning their risk factors for developing the disease. We’ve also built a national wellness ambassador network to ensure that each and every employee has access to programs and services to support their health,” says Dr. Satok.

“McKesson Canada has been working with its employees since 2013 to become the healthiest company in its industry,” says Geneviève Fortier, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Public Affairs at McKesson Canada. “Thanks to our flexible health and wellness program, we are seeing a reduction in the average duration of our disabilities: 23% for short term and 34% for long term.”

Kevin Dougherty (@KPDougherty), President of Sun Life Financial Canada, discusses the findings of the 2015 Sun Life Financial Canadian Health Index.

Results by Region

Results by Age

About the Sun Life Canadian Health Index survey

The Sun Life Canadian Health Index measures the attitudes of Canadians towards healthy lifestyles and reports these in the form of an index.

The sixth annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index is based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 15 and 23, 2015. A sample of 2,404 Canadians from 18 to 80 years of age was drawn from the Ipsos I-Say online panel.

Ipsos Reid employed weighting to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos Reid online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within �2.3% at 95% Confidence Level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

For more key findings and results on the 2015 Sun Life Canadian Health Index, visit

Age breakdown for demographics:

  • Gen Y: 18 – 30;
  • Gen X: 31 – 47;
  • Late Boomer: 48 – 57;
  • Early Boomer: 58 – 66;
  • Pre-Boomer: 67 – 80.

About Sun Life Financial

Celebrating 150 years in 2015, Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda.

As of September 30, 2015, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $846 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Source: Sun Life Financial Inc.