Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Work-life Balance Issues in Canada

I came across this very interesting study that was part of the 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada.  I decided to talk about it because I found some of the findings particularly interesting, especially if you live in Canada. 

Two researchers (Drs. Linda Duxbury and Christopher Higgins) from two Ontarian universities (Carleton University and University of Western Ontario) surveyed more than 25,000 Canadians from all provinces and two territories. The study covered a vast array of workload and work-life balance issues, from the role of gender in income and parenting-task distribution to the way work roles affect physical and mental health.

The results of the study are very interesting and I suggest you click here if you want to have all the details.  Here are some findings that attracted my attention: 


  • Almost two-thirds of Canadians are working more than 45 hours per week which is about 50% more than two decades ago.
  • Work weeks are more rigid, with flex-time arrangements dropping by a third in the past 10 years.
  • Only 23% of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. That’s half as many as in 1991.
  • Workplace roles placed a higher strain on women, who, despite having primary or equal responsibility to provide the family income in half of families, are still largely the primary caretakers of children.
  • One-third of Canadians feel they have more work to do than time permits.
  • Two-thirds of Canadians spent more than an hour a day catching up on e-mails; one-third spent more than an hour e-mailing on their days off.
Although these stats are not completely surprising, it is still interesting to see that the majority of Canadians are clearly unsatisfied with their work-life balance. This is very sad, especially if we consider that supposedly we live in one of the best countries of the world. 

Yes, I know, "best" in terms of what? Well, if you don't know, Canada is among the best places in the world to live, according to a quality of life measure from a leading international organization that compared rich industrialized nations. The "Better Life Index" from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found Canada among the leaders (Canada ranked 3rd) in most of the 24 indicators measured, everything from hard data dealing with jobs and income, to perceptions of something the OECD calls "life satisfaction." Click here if you want to read the complete report.

As indicated by one of the authors of the study that examined 25,000 Canadians, If we want to build the case of being the best country in the world to live, we’ve got to make changes to make that the case”. 

How to do this? According to the authors of the study even though striking the right balance can require serious life and scheduling changes, it is imperative that workplaces change the way that do things. 

What do you think? How do you do to balance work and life?





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