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Working through COVID-19: Vacation Policies Survey


Working through COVID-19: Vacation Policies Survey
Vacation key to supporting mental health and avoiding burnout

Ottawa, ON. JUNE 1, 2020 – With COVID-19 changing the way we work and live, how and why employees take vacation is also being impacted. With nowhere to go and travel restrictions still in effect, workers may be less motivated to use their vacation in the coming months.

The Conference Board of Canada asked organizations across the country how they’re managing employees’ vacation usage, and what changes they’re making to vacation policies.  Results of the survey, released today, are available here: Working Through COVID-19: Vacation Policies Survey.

“Canadian workers are facing a variety of stressors and demands related to COVID-19 and deserve a much-needed break,” says Allison Cowan, Director Human Capital at The Conference Board of Canada. “Employers are encouraging the use of vacation days to support mental health, prevent burnout, and help employees balance family responsibilities.”


  • Most organizations are encouraging, instead of requiring, employees to take some or all of their vacation.
  • For organizations requiring employees to take vacation, few are exempting employees in high-demand roles from this requirement.
  • Employers cite supporting mental health, preventing burnout and balancing family responsibilitiesas reasons for encouraging employees to use vacation.
  • Our survey finds 32% of organizations have changed their approach to vacation and 1 in 5 have adjusted their carryover policy.

Survey responses were collected on Monday, May 25, 2020, and we received responses from 294 organizations. These findings are part of The Conference Board of Canada’s Working Through COVID-19 series. Themes explored so far are:

Stay tuned for updates as this situation evolves.



About The Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada is Canada’s foremost independent, non-partisan, and evidenced-based applied research organization.  We equip leaders and decision-makers with the economic reports, custom research, data, networks and events they need to solve our country’s most pressing challenges. Our focus areas include Canadian Economics, Energy & Environment, Innovation & Technology, Immigration and more. We stand at the intersection of research and policy, where insights meet impact.

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