Survey: Canada Workers' Benefits Payments Going Up

July 28, 2003 ( - Canadian employees can expect to dig a little deeper in their pockets to pay for benefits over the next three years as fewer employers absorb medical care cost increases, a new survey found.

Morneau Sobeco’s Web-based “60 Second Survey” found 50% of respondents indicated that the employer had, over the past three years, absorbed all or most of the increasing medical costs while nearly four out of 10 (37%) indicated that the cost had been evenly shared between the employee and employer, according to Canada Newswire. Only 5% of respondents reported that employees had shelled out all or most of the cost. The final 8% had avoided cost increases by reducing their benefit coverage.

But that’s going to change in years to come. The percentage of employers that gave a forecast who intended to continue absorbing all or most of future cost increases had dropped from 50% to 33%. In most cases, they expect to accomplish this by having the employees shoulder more of the cost.

Only 4% of employers who provided a forecast plan to reduce benefit coverage enough to keep costs in line.

How employees have coped with past cost increases depended in large part on the size of the employer. For employers with less than 1,000 employees, 27% indicated that they had absorbed all or most of the increased costs. By contrast, only 18% of larger employers (over 1,000 employees) had absorbed all or most of the costs; 46% said that they had split the cost more or less evenly with the employees.

This question elicited responses from 332 employers across Canada, a majority of whom have been absorbing most or all of the costs associated with rising health costs over the past three years.