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Which Canadian City Is the Healthiest?

Saskatoon clinched the top spot in the first City Health Monitor, which compares the health performance of 10 Canadian cities. Calgary and Winnipeg also received “A” grades. This benchmarking report examines the physical and socio-economic health of these cities and specifically focuses on four categories: life satisfaction; population health; healthy lifestyle; and access to health care services. Montréal was the only metropolitan area to receive a “D” grade, while all others received an overall “B” grade.

Features

Maple leaves of varying colours in a row  

B.C. and Ontario Top the List for Economic Growth in 2017

In 2017, a slowing housing market is expected to weigh on British Columbia’s economy, leading to a moderate increase in real GDP of 2.4 per cent. Meanwhile, Ontario’s economy is expected to grow at the same rate, creating a two-way tie for first place among the provinces. Alberta’s economy will finally be out of recession in 2017, forecast to grow 2.2 per cent with 0.4 percentage points coming from the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray. With the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, all provinces will see their economies expand next year.

 
Young man in plaid shirt  

Role of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada’s Agriculture Sector

Labour shortages in Canada’s agriculture sector have doubled over the last decade and are projected to double again to 113,800 unfilled positions before 2025. The sector is facing difficulty recruiting and retaining domestic workers and has increasingly turned to temporary foreign workers to fill the gap. Finding solutions to these issues in the years to come is critical for future growth in the sector, which is on a seemingly unsustainable path. One potential solution includes the revision of Canada’s immigration policies to create a path toward permanent residency for migrant workers who are filling a permanent market need.

 
Mature couple working at a table
             

Linking Financial Wellness to Employee Mental Health

Rising household debt, skyrocketing hydro rates, and increasing food costs and education fees are just a few factors contributing to Canadians’ financial stress. Financial professionals and HR managers recognize that financial concerns have implications on overall health and are increasingly focusing on employees’ financial concerns. As such, the Conference Board will host a conference January 23–24 that will show the connection between improved financial literacy and overall wellness, as well as exploring how organizations can integrate financial wellness into their initiatives. We will also cover the role of pensions and benefits programs in financial wellness, and proactive ways to help employees better handle their own financial situation, both at work and at home.

Flowing oil  

Sturgeon Refinery Project Contributes to Economic Activity

Alberta is considering its options to add value to its resources and diversify its economy. The Sturgeon Refinery project shows that additional economic value can be generated within the province through the processing of bitumen. The construction phase of this project alone will increase gross domestic product by almost $8 billion, generate nearly $2 billion in government revenues, and support about 76,000 person-years of employment. The operations phase of the project will further increase these values, demonstrating the positive economic impact a project of this nature can have on a much larger scale.

 
Business man giving a presentation in front of an audience  

One-Day Workshops to Build Leadership Skills

The quality and effectiveness of leadership can have a profound impact on work cultures and organizational performance at all levels. A series of one-day workshops, offered by the Professional Development Institute in partnership with The Niagara Institute, can help develop leadership competencies that are essential for leading today. Topics include Presenting as a Leader, Leveraging Tension for Leadership Success, and How to Train the Brain for Success. Visit the Professional Development Institute website for dates and more information.


CBoC Highlights

Photo of Wendy Mitchell and Annette Verschruen Photo of Wendy Mitchell and Annette Verschruen
We hosted the first-ever Investor & Entrepreneur Immigration Summit on December 6–7 in Toronto. Guests, including Olivia Chow, explored the merits of federal, provincial, and territorial entrepreneur and investor immigration programs, including the prominent Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. Greg Sutherland discusses the City Health Monitor, a ranking of health performance among 10 Canadian cities on CBC’s The National.
   
Image of infographic thumbnail Photo of Laura Albanese and John McCallum
Craig Alexander discusses the Bank of Canada’s Financial System Review announcement on CTV’s Power Play. Canada is at the dawn of a new trade era. This interactive graphic looks at the 25 countries that make up Canada’s most important future global trade markets. These countries are broken down into five tiers, based on two indexes: the Country Potential Index and the Canadian Engagement Index.

In This Issue

  • Which Canadian City Is the Healthiest?
  • B.C. and Ontario Top the List for Economic Growth in 2017
  • Role of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada’s Agriculture Sector
  • Linking Financial Wellness to Employee Mental Health
  • Sturgeon Refinery Project Contributes to Economic Activity
  • One-Day Workshops to Build Leadership Skills

Previous Issues

Latest Blogs

Cyber and Hybrid Threats to Canada and Its Allies

by
  • Brent Dowdall
| May 06, 2019
<table class="blogAuthor"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="baImg"><img src="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/bios/retrieveImages.aspx?id=83526" alt="Brent Dowdall"></td> <td> </td> <td class="baText"><strong><a rel="author">Brent Dowdall</a><br> </strong>Senior Manager, Research and Business Development</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Cyber security threats are now considered a global security concern on par with traditional conventional military threats. Our interconnected world means that cyber threats and hybrid warfare incorporate a complex mix of hostile actors and a wide range of tactics. The rapid evolution of technology, combined with the ability of attackers to quickly adopt new offensive tools and techniques, further exacerbates the threat. Open liberal democracies have an interest in overcoming the risks of cyber attacks—to protect the critical infrastructure we rely on, personal privacy and business continuity, and even democratic institutions themselves.</p> <p>The Government of Canada is developing cyber capabilities to protect the country from virtual threats and to work within defence alliances. Among its key partners should be European countries, working both within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and with the European Union (EU) itself.</p> <p>With Europe on the front lines of hostile state and non-state actors, the EU has taken a more assertive role in organizing its own cyber security defences and those of its member states. The EU’s <a href="https://pesco.europa.eu/">Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)</a> initiative has put cyber security at the top of the priority list for greater collaboration and cooperation among member states.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pesco.europa.eu/project/cyber-rapid-response-teams-and-mutual-assistance-in-cyber-security/">Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRT) and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security</a> project is among the most advanced of the projects under the PESCO initiative. CRRT will allow member states to help each other to ensure higher level of cyber resilience and to collectively respond to cyber incidents. Lithuania leads the EU cooperation project in cyber defence, with eight more EU member states—Estonia, Spain, Croatia, Poland, Netherlands, France, Romania, and Finland—participating in the project (Belgium, Greece, Slovenia, and Germany are observers of the project).</p> <p>The aim of this project is to integrate the expertise among member states in the field of cyber defence. The rapid response teams are able to assist with training, diagnostics, and attribution forensics, and to provide assistance in operations.</p> <p>At the <a href="https://www.eucanada.eu/">5th&nbsp;European Union Security and Defence Symposium</a>, held in Ottawa on March&nbsp;20, 2019, the panel session PESCO in Action: Confronting Hybrid/Cyber Threats will outline the progress being made on the CRRT and how Canada and the EU can work together to strengthen our shared responsibilities in the field of cyber threats. The Conference Board of Canada is a partner in developing the program for the event. Participants include senior EU officials, Canadian governments officials, and experts from both sides of the Atlantic.</p> <p>Canada is far from exempt from the potential consequences of cyber threats. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s most recent threat assessment says that 2019 could be a particularly harrowing year for Canadian individuals, businesses, and institutions.<span class="sup"><a href="#ftn1-ref" name="ftn1" id="ftn1">1</a></span></p> <p>Given the high and rising threat of cyber attacks, it is also important to promote the concept of cyber resilience. Unlike cyber security, which is usually very focused on prevention and protection, cyber resilience recognizes that successful cyber attacks may be inevitable. Therefore, cyber resilience promotes the need to ensure organizations can maintain critical functions and quickly return to normal in the wake of an attack. Improving organizational cyber resilience will be the focus of the Conference Board’s <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/conf/cyber-security/deafult.aspx">Cyber Security 2019: Building and Testing Cyber Resilience</a> conference.</p> <p>As governments and businesses alike face new threats, decision-makers and organizational leaders need to stay up to date on the latest cyber-security trends. Ongoing research and dialogue—by sharing the successes, weaknesses, and learnings—is perhaps the most effective defensive weapon we can collectively wield against these threats.</p> <hr> <h3>Related Conference</h3> <p><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/conf/cyber-security/deafult.aspx">Cyber Security 2019: Building and Testing Cyber Resilience</a><br> May 27, 2019, Toronto</p> <br><br> <p class="footnote" style="padding-top: 1.25em;"><a id="ftn1-ref" name="ftn1-ref" href="#ftn1">1</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cindy Baker, <a href="https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/canada-is-a-prime-target-for-cybersecurity-attacks-in-2019/414201">“Canada Is a Prime Target for Cybersecurity Attacks in 2019.”</a> <em>IT World Canada</em>, January&nbsp;16, 2019.</p>

Four Employee Trends Disrupting Traditional Benefits Plans

by
  • The Conference Board of Canada
| May 01, 2019
<p>As workplaces become more generationally diverse, the needs of employees have become more complex. More than ever, HR professionals are looking for ways to respond to these varied needs.</p> <p>Employers have their work cut out for them when it comes to remaining cost-effective while providing today’s workforce with the most valuable health benefits.</p> <p>Based on the <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html" title="" class="" target="">2019 Benefits Benchmarking</a> report, here are the <strong>top four employee trends disrupting traditional benefits plans:</strong></p> <h2>Cannabis in the Workplace</h2> <p>Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, and the number of authorized users has grown dramatically. By mid-2018, 342,000 Canadians were registered to use legally.</p> <p>Due to the recent legalization of recreational cannabis, medical cannabis is expected to be more common. Employees are increasingly turning to their employers with questions about coverage. Yet, only a handful of the Canadian organizations we surveyed offer coverage for medical cannabis.</p> <p>Employers should consider creating strategies that are mindful of this new frontier.</p> <h2>Aging Workforce </h2> <p>The needs of Canadian employees have become increasingly complex as Canada’s largest generation continues to work past the typical retirement age. This has put pressure on the health care system. Employers find themselves challenged to address the needs of this generation head-on.</p> <p>Organizations are aware of this trend, and they are looking for technology to better manage health care needs.</p> <h2>Increase Use of Biologic Drugs </h2> <p>There has been an increase in the use of biologic drugs and a greater focus on paramedical services. This has made it difficult for organizations to decide where to invest resources.</p> <p>Given this growing trend, having a drug cost management strategy is becoming increasingly important for the long-term sustainability of benefits plans.</p> <h2>Virtual Health Care and Wellness </h2> <p>Organizations are seeking more cost-effective, creative, and proactive ways to maintain and improve employee health. Canadian organizations are increasingly turning to new technologies that focus on prevention, such as virtual wellness technologies to manage health and fitness and pharmacogenetic testing.</p> <p>Different industries align their benefits strategies with virtual wellness technologies in varying ways. Their focuses may include physical wellness, improving financial wellness, reducing stress, absenteeism, or productivity.</p> <p><strong>Get ahead of these disruptors by leveraging data from 217 Canadian organizations in the 2019 Benefits Benchmarking report.</strong> <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html" title="" class="" target="">Read on</a>.</p>

Five Trends That Will Change the Way Your Company Structures Benefits

by
  • The Conference Board of Canada
| Mar 20, 2019
<p>Employee expectations are changing, and nowhere is this more evident than in benefit offerings. </p> <p> Canadian employers are being challenged to appeal to a multi-generational workforce. Varied employee needs have given rise to an evolved style of benefit offerings: one that is flexible, but keeps an eye on cost. </p> <p> How can you stay ahead of the curve? We surveyed 217 organizations for our new <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html">Benefits Benchmarking&nbsp;2019</a> report, collecting data that reflect the experiences of 1.2&nbsp;million employees. </p> <p><strong>Here are five trends in employee benefits that will give your organization an edge:</strong></p> <h2>More Flexible Benefits</h2> <p>Flexibility is the name of the game in 2019. Increasingly, employers are managing costs by letting employees decide what supports are best for them and their families. In our survey, we found that a record-breaking <strong>two-thirds of Canadian employers are now offering more innovative health care spending accounts (HCSAs) to employees at all levels</strong>.</p> <h2>Wellness Apps Supporting Employee Well-Being</h2> <p>Wellness apps are proving to be a win-win. Employees who use these apps are reaping the rewards of being proactive about their physical and mental health. Meanwhile, employers benefit from happier, healthier employees.</p> <h2>Medical Marijuana Offered as an Employee Benefit</h2> <p>The green wave has arrived in Canada. It’s no surprise that medical cannabis is starting to find its way into employee benefit offerings. While only 6&nbsp;per cent of organizations currently cover medical cannabis, <strong>close to half (48&nbsp;per cent) of respondents report they are considering doing so in the future</strong>.</p> <h2>Outsourcing Benefits Administration</h2> <p>With the emergence of new HR technologies, outsourcing your benefits administration can significantly impact your bottom line while meeting employees’ wellness needs.</p> <h2>Offering Mental Health Support to Employees</h2> <p>Conversations around mental health in the workplace have hit critical mass, bolstered by the gigantic #BellLetsTalk movement. Approximately two-thirds of all responding organizations report enhancing or introducing strategies to support employees’ mental health and wellness. </p> <p><strong>How does your organization stack up? Optimize your employee benefits with data from 217&nbsp;organizations. </strong><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html"><strong>Get the Benefits Benchmarking 2019 report.</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html"><img src="/images/default-source/cboc-images-public/22685_benefits_552x147_final.jpg?sfvrsn=b9274e13_0" data-displaymode="Original" alt="Benefits_552x147" title="Benefits_552x147"></a></p>

Webinars

Being Bold and Intentional: Best Practices in Sustainability Reporting
Dec 10 at 2:30 PM

Brexit, Wexit and other Recession Risks—Will Canada’s Economy Squeak By?
Dec 11 at 2:00 PM

Leadership in Conservation across Canada
Jan 08 at 2:00 PM