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News Mental Health Retention
Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians resigned during COVID-19 due to increased stress at work

October 28, 2021
By Talent Canada staff

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital total well-being solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™, revealing a negative mental-health score among Canadians for the 18th consecutive month.

Key findings:

  • Overall mental-health score of -10.3 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark, marking the first decline after three consecutive months of improvement.
  • In the latest survey, more than one-third of Canadians (35 per cent) reported that they are either  considering or are unsure about leaving their current job. These groups also reported a mental-health score more than three times lower than those who are not considering leaving their job.
  • Eighteen per cent of respondents that have resigned during the pandemic, did so because of increased stress at work.
  • Sixteen per cent of respondents have resigned due to caregiving responsibilities and this group has among the least favourable mental-health scores (-28.4).

Parents and older employees more likely to resign from their job than younger demographics

  • Older employees are feeling underappreciated in the workplace at a disproportionate rate, with 35 per cent of respondents between the ages of 40-69 citing lack of appreciation as the reason for considering resignation, compared to nine per cent of those aged 20-39.
  • Conversely, among all respondents, those under 40 years old are 70 per cent more likely to consider resigning from their job than respondents over 50 years old.
  • Parents are more than twice as likely as non-parents to report resigning during the pandemic.

Comments from president and chief executive officer, Stephen Liptrap

“Ongoing workplace changes and uncertainty for the future continue to increase the mental strain that employees are experiencing, and Canadians are indicating that actions speak louder than words when it comes to how employers address this. Building a supportive culture that speaks about and provides resources for mental health needs is a great first step. Employers must recognize that employees are considering resigning from their jobs if they don’t get support. An investment in employees is an investment in business success.”

Many Canadians have not been asked by their employer about working preferences, contributing to poorer mental health

  • Close to half (47 per cent) of respondents report that their employer has not asked them about their working preferences for the post-pandemic workplace, and this group has the lowest mental-health score (-11.6).
  • One-third (33 per cent) of respondents report that their employer has asked them about their working preferences and this group has a mental-health score of -9.4.
  • Twenty per cent of respondents indicate that their employer does not allow for much flexibility in working preferences. This group, however, reported the highest mental-health score (-8.0) across all employees.
  • Managers are nearly 40 per cent more likely than non-managers to report that their employer has asked about working preferences.

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total well-being, Paula Allen

“Feeling heard and valued are critical to employee satisfaction and total wellbeing. To foster a healthy workplace, it is not only critical that employers look beyond policy to consider their employees’ unique wants and needs, but that they also provide ongoing opportunities for workers to share their thoughts and feelings in an unbiased, safe environment. Listening to employees’ views plays a crucial role in ensuring they feel valued and motivated to continue doing their best work.”

The full Canadian LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on changes in mental strain and stress, preferences for the post-pandemic workplace environment, impact of salary on job satisfaction and more.


The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey in English and French from September 2 to September 10, 2021, with 3,000 respondents in Canada.

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