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New research shows more than a third of all Canadians reporting burnout

January 17, 2022

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Healthcare workers top the list of all industries surveyed, with nurses double the Canadian average

Winnipeg, MB, January 17, 2022. . .Today is Blue Monday – often referred to as the most depressing day of the year. As we inch towards the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, new research shows that more than one-third (35 per cent) of all working Canadians are feeling burned out.

A comprehensive research study – commissioned by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, compliments of Canada Life, and conducted by Mental Health Research Canada in December 2021 – measured a wide range of factors relating to how employees are feeling at work. Those factors included everything from engagement and recognition to workload and safety.

“The number of Canadians reporting burnout is cause for concern,” said Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Collaboration and Strategy, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. “It’s not surprising though – considering we’re once again faced with extreme uncertainty as the pandemic rollercoaster continues. For so many of us, anxiety and exhaustion are at an all-time high.”

While the signs and symptoms of burnout may vary, says Baynton, it’s often characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, negativity and reduced efficiency in the workplace. It’s more prevalent in employees who set high expectations for themselves, have unreasonable demands placed on them or feel unappreciated for their efforts. While not considered a mental illness, burnout can be debilitating and long-lasting. That’s why prevention and mitigation strategies are so important.

Five industries showed burnout rates above the national average of 35 per cent:

  • ·Health and patient care (53 per cent)
  • Transportation (40 per cent)
  • Finance, legal and insurance (39 per cent)
  • Education and childcare (38 per cent)
  • First responders (36 per cent)

Within the health and patient care industry, a staggering 66 per cent of nurses reported burnout. Mental health professionals followed closely at 61 per cent and all other segments surveyed in this industry landed well above the Canadian average of 35 per cent reporting burnout.

“Burnout levels have soared among Canadian nurses throughout the pandemic,” said Tim Guest, Canadian Nurses Association. “The levels were high prior to 2020, but now the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. CNA is deeply concerned, and we continue to call for accessible mental health resources tailored to healthcare workers.”

Also, according to the study, few working Canadians feel they are receiving enough support from their employer, with only a third of respondents indicating their company is committed to a low stress environment.

“We’re troubled about the many respondents who singled out the lack of psychological supports at work,” said Michael Cooper, Vice-President, Mental Health Research Canada. “With the pandemic it’s more important than ever for employers to consider new leadership approaches to help those employees most at risk of burnout. The consequences of not doing so are significant.”

To find help preventing burnout for yourself or others, visit Workplace Strategies for Mental Health - Opens in a new window . Employers can also access free tools and resources - Opens in a new window to reduce the risk of burnout in the workplace.

About The Canada Life Assurance Company

Canada Life is a leading insurance, wealth management and benefits provider focused on improving the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians. For more than 170 years, individuals, families and business owners across Canada have trusted us to provide sound guidance and deliver on the promises we’ve made.

On January 1, 2020, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life became one company – Canada Life, and today, we proudly serve more than 12 million customer relationships from coast to coast to coast.

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About Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

Established in 2007, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health is a leading source of free and practical tools and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues. Around the world, Canada is recognized as a leader in workplace mental health. Many individuals and organizations contributed to this distinction, and it’s been a privilege to play a part in many important initiatives. For more information, visit the website at WorkplaceStrategiesforMentalHealth.com - Opens in a new window .

About Mental Health Research Canada

Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC - Opens in a new window ) is a national, charitable organization dedicated to improving the lives of the 1 in 5 Canadians living with mental illness, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. We advance evidence-based mental health knowledge that is problem-solving and applicable in the real world.

For more information contact:

Kim Forgetta
Associate Manager, Media & Public Affairs
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health/The Canada Life Assurance Company
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Media.Relations@canadalife.com

David A. Morris
National Communications Director
Mental Health Research Canada
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dmorris@mhrc.ca

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