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Ottawa Peace Tower and tulips

Federal Budget 2017

With uncertainty stemming from a new U.S. administration, the Canadian federal government opted for a “stay the course” approach in its budget, introducing few new measures. The latest budget outlines in greater detail spending measures that were either announced in last year’s budget or more recently revealed, as in the case of increased transfers to provinces for home care and mental health initiatives. This budget will add $3.5 billion to deficits over the next five years.

Features

Arm and hand holding an open umbrella  

Canada’s Banking and Insurance Industries

We have added two new industries to our Canadian Industrial Outlook roster: banking services and insurance. The first outlook for the insurance industry forecasts that slower consumer spending on big-ticket insurable items, as well as an aging population, will weigh on Canadian insurance firms. Meanwhile, Canada’s banking industry will be limited to 2.4 per cent real GDP growth this year amid a slowdown in consumer and business credit growth.

 
Footprint made from leaves  

Canada’s Future Low-Carbon Economy

Canada’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions brings with it a commitment to improve the way we produce, transport, and consume energy and influences all sectors of the economy, government actions, and household decisions. The transition to a low-carbon economy should aim for steady, progressive change over time, building on a strategy that includes a strong energy sector. Our recent briefing outlines what this transition might look like and the policies and practices that will guide it along the way.

 
Nurse with stethoscope holding a clipboard  

Demand for Nursing Services Rising Faster Than Supply

Canada’s aging population will cause a dramatic rise in demand for continuing care. Demand for nursing services is expected to increase at a much stronger pace than the supply of nurses, with overall demand for nursing services projected to increase from just under 64,000 full-year jobs to 142,000 full-year jobs by 2035—an annual growth rate of 3.4 per cent. Finding ways to address the labour demands for nursing will be essential for Canada to successfully meet the care needs of its seniors.

Woman looking at shelves of pill bottles  

The Value of Consumer Health Products

Removing the need to obtain a prescription from a physician for select medications can help improve access for some Canadians through greater convenience and lower costs. Switching three specific drug categories (proton pump inhibitors to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, oral contraceptives, and drugs for erectile dysfunction) to over-the-counter medications could represent a cost savings of $1 billion annually for Canadians, Canada’s health care system, insurance providers, and employers combined.

 
Physiotherapist helping woman stretch a band over her head  

Shortage of Physiotherapists Limits Access for Some Canadians

The number of Canadians that have consulted a physiotherapist has been steadily growing over the last few years, and demand for these services may be outstripping supply in certain areas of the country. While growth in the employment of physiotherapists has been keeping pace with the sharp increase in demand to date, it has been largely concentrated in the urban centres of the most populated provinces, leaving those on the outskirts underserviced.

Car with 1s and 0s on the metal  

Automated Vehicles Conference: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology

Automated vehicles, or driverless cars, are a disruptive technology that is poised to change the ways in which people and goods are moved. To ensure a positive transition, the time to start planning is now. Experts from across Canada and abroad will share their insights on how to proactively manage the transition to a transportation sector that includes AVs. Join the discussion at our Automated Vehicles 2017 conference, April 19–20 in Toronto. The conference will include a keynote address from the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transportation, on Canada’s leadership role in the transformative industry.


CBoC Highlights

Craig Alexander speaking Carlos Murillo speaking
Craig Alexander, Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada, weighs in on Federal Budget 2017 in this interview with CTV. Carlos Murillo, Economist, The Conference Board of Canada, joins Bloomberg to discuss the economic outlook for Canada’s natural gas industry.
   
Marie-Christine Bernard speaking Video still of Facebook Live chat
This infographic breaks down some of the human capital trends and metrics on talent management practices observed in our latest HR Trends and Metrics report. Michael Keaveney, Regional Director, Ireland and the U.K., The Conference Board Europe, joined our Leader’s Roundtable sessions in Berlin to discuss Brexit and migration.

In This Issue

  • Federal Budget 2017
  • Canada’s Banking and Insurance Industries
  • Canada’s Future Low-Carbon Economy
  • Demand for Nursing Services Rising Faster Than Supply
  • The Value of Consumer Health Products
  • Shortage of Physiotherapists Limits Access for Some Canadians
  • Automated Vehicles Conference: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology

Previous Issues

Recent Op-Eds

Canada’s Agri-Food Sector Is Growing, but Supply-Managed Sectors Are Lagging Behind, The Globe and Mail, March 22, 2017

Can Ukraine Reinvent Itself?, The Globe and Mail, March 8, 2017

What Is Canada’s Economic Game Plan With China?, The Globe and Mail, February 21, 2017

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

Compensation Planning Outlook 2020 Webinar
Nov 21 at 2:00 PM

Why Canada’s Arctic Matters
Nov 26 at 11:00 AM

You're It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most
Nov 26 at 2:00 PM