Top Benefits Conversations of 2022

It’s a wrap! As we begin the New Year with refreshed energy and excitement for what 2023 may bring, we wanted to share a recap of the key stories in benefits over 2022.


Extreme Difficulty in Hiring

The theme of our client meetings this year can be summed up in one simple sentence “Where did all the people go?” Businesses struggled to hire (and retain) qualified people. Employers told us they had candidates ‘ghosting’ interviews or simply not showing up to their first day, a trend that most had never previously experienced.

Time and again we were told by employers that they were desperately in need of staff, and that their existing team members were stretched too thin or in roles they were not hired or properly qualified to fill. The labour shortage is evident with a record-tight labour market, according Stats Canada: Labour shortage trends in Canada (

“Salary and benefits” continue to top the list of most important job factors for employees. Providing and more importantly communicating and highlighting a competitive benefits offering will make you stand out.

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The Shift to Hybrid Work

There has been a massive shift in how we work over the past few years. Hybrid work, or working partly remote and partly in-office became the norm post-pandemic, with most employees reporting they prefer working from home.

This has had a big impact in terms of managing and hiring, measuring performance, and ensuring engagement. We wrote about hybrid work and posed the question: Is working from home an employee benefit in two parts. The basic takeaways are that remote work is here to stay, employees prefer a hybrid model, and a formalized WFH policy is a must. 


The Great Resignation, or rather, the Great Retirement

The much-discussed Great Resignation did not occur in Canada like it did in the US, but what Canada experienced is actually more concerning:  a record number of retirements.

A record 300K people retired in Canada in the 12 months up to July 2022 (up 30% from the same period the previous year). Early retirement, so those between age 55-65, made up almost half of the overall number of retirees. With our demographics here in Canada, it will only grow larger. With the most experienced people exiting the workforce, there is a real risk to businesses due to the lack of mentorship and transfer of knowledge for younger generations.

How does this tie into benefits? Offering those in the final stages of their career enhanced coverage and work flexibility are potential solutions to entice your most experienced people to stay a few additional years.


Continued Focus on Mental Health and Well-being

As we transitioned out of the pandemic, the focus on mental health remained at the forefront. Employers continued to ask for resources and coverage options to ensure their staff had access to the mental health support they required.  

Far beyond the EAP or the dollars available for counselling visits, employers sought various ideas to support mental health including: return to work plans, 4-day work weeks, assisting employees with financial concerns through financial literacy and group savings plans and other programs designed to provide the flexibility needed to better support individuals and families and remove barriers to care.

More than one third of all 2022 Long Term Disability claims are mental health related. Claims for mental health are up 75% from 2019, and experts anticipate this will rise in 2023.


High Inflation

A key conversation in 2022 was the inflation we saw across the board; this was especially noticed with the cost of groceries. After years of low interest rates, Canada experienced eight interest rate adjustments in 2022. For many people, this directly impacted their borrowing costs, affecting both personal and business expenses and decisions.

2022 saw increases to the Dental fee guides far higher than historical averages. Unfortunately, it appears that the Dental Fee Guide increases for 2023 will once again be much higher than usual, with 8.5% for Ontario and 9.8% for Quebec already reported. With costs for practitioners and other insured expenses also rising, we anticipate larger than typical increases to claims across plans.


Federal Dental Plan

The Federal Dental Plan was rolled out the end of 2022. Employers had many questions on this program, wondering the impact to their Employer-sponsored insured dental plans. Generally speaking, there is little or no impact on existing plans, due to the qualification parameters for the new Federal plan.

The program provides coverage for children under 12 only. In order to qualify for any level of coverage, family income must be under $90K, and the children must not have access to private dental coverage (i.e. Employer plans). The government states that this is the first stage in developing a more comprehensive federal dental plan; only time will tell!


Change to EI Sickness Benefits

Effective for December 18th, 2022, the Federal Government announced a change to EI Sickness benefits, extending the duration of pay from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. Employers had many questions about this and the impact on their insured Long Term Disability programs which typically begin at week 17, at the expiration of EI Sickness payments.

In short, Employers are not required to adjust their LTD plans. Generally speaking, it is not in the best interest of those who are insured under LTD plans to remain on EI Sickness rather than transitioning to LTD. 

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Flexibility in Benefits

Finishing up the list, an underlying theme to benefits conversations in 2022 was the desire for flexibility and customization. As we know, one size does not fit all when it comes to benefit plans, which these days must include elements of flexibility to ensure everyone’s needs are met. We saw employers embracing customized work arrangements including hybrid work models and four-day work weeks.

From a product standpoint, the Immix Group set up more Health & Wellness Spending Accounts than ever before as Employers sought a simple way to provide spending flexibility to their team.

As always, we are happy to discuss your program with you!

Please reach out to us to discuss how we can help with your program; we love to hear from you.


Read more:


Labour Shortage Stats Can:




Hybrid Work:



8 Reasons for Increases to your Employee Benefit Plan Premiums    – Latest News from Immix Group


Mental Health:

More than a third of disability claims in 2022 due to mental-health reasons: survey | Benefits

Mental health claims soar by 75 per cent | Canadian HR Reporter


Flexibility in Benefits:

One size fits all? Not when it comes to employee benefits. – Latest News from Immix Group

Lindsay Byrka

Lindsay Byrka BA, BEd, CFP

Vice President, Immix Group: An Employee Benefits Company
A Suite 450 – 888 Dunsmuir St. Vancouver V6C 3K4
O 604-688-5262 E

Add to your Recruitment and Retention Toolkit with a Group Savings Plan

Group Savings Plan

Are you having a hard time finding and keeping great people? Don’t overlook the power of enhancing your benefits offering with a simple yet effective retention tool: a company savings plan.

We are hearing from clients and peers that hiring and keeping great people is more difficult right now than anyone can remember. It’s being called the Great Resignationis it impacting your business as well?  


Why are people leaving their jobs? What is causing them to choose different opportunities?

Certainly, the pandemic has impacted how people feel about their jobs, their time, and exactly how they want their work life to look and feel. People have experienced a resetting of priorities, and a taste of a different way of working. But does the employee benefits plan offering still matter? Yes, absolutely!


What do employees want in their benefits offering?

From our perspective as benefits advisors, we know that great benefits go a long way. People expect a comprehensive benefits plan, and these days they want flexibility and choice to be part of the offering. More than ever, people want work-from-home flexibility if the job allows for it, autonomy over their day, and competitive pay. Culture matters, and great leadership from authentic, supportive and caring people. A recent article showed these top 3 factors driving employee retention:  

  • Benefits (34%)
  • Strong Sense of Culture (31%)
  • Belief in Senior Leadership (29%)

To us, these three items are intrinsically linked!  Great leadership understands that you need to empower people and meet their needs; doing so results in a positive and engaged culture. But how do you meet needs? A great benefits plan can play a big role.


But what about a company Group Savings Plan?

Because it’s RRSP season, and the ads are everywhere due to of the looming March 1st deadline, it’s timely to point out that employers should be using this simple and easy tool to enhance their benefits offering.  If you’re paying competitive compensation and have a good health and dental plan in place, then a retirement savings plan is a natural next step.


Is it a Pension, a Group RRSP, or the Company Retirement Plan?

Whether you call it an employer retirement plan, a company RRSP, a group savings plan, or the ‘pension plan’, an employer-sponsored Group Savings Plan is a highly valued part of a benefits program. In fact, when asked, employees say that their benefits are more important to them than an equivalent amount in straight pay.

The exact type of plan that’s right for your group depends on your organizational needs and goals. There are many products available that can be employer-sponsored as part of a “Group Savings Plan”:

  • Registered Pension Plans (RPPs)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRPSs)
  • Deferred Profit Sharing Plans (DPSPs)
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)

Which type of plan is right for you? While most employers choose a RRSP or RRSP-DPSP combo these days, there is still a place for pensions, depending on the goals of the business. Working with a qualified advisor, and walking through all the relevant considerations, will help you decide on the right plan for your team.


A Group Savings Plan is truly easy to set up and administer.

What most employers and HR personnel may not realize, is that there is no cost to setting up a workplace employee savings plan, other than what you may decide to contribute on behalf of the company. And guess what? There are no rules when it comes to employer contributions; employers can contribute a fixed percentage, a certain dollar amount per person or not at all. The choice is yours.

What are the advantages for employees in participating in a Workplace Savings Plan?

If it's not in the budget to have an employer contribution right off the bat, a plan can still provide great value for employees. A Group RRSP, for example, provides employees:

  • Systematic savings
  • Pre-tax investment contributions, meaning reduced income taxes
  • Tax-deferred growth of investments
  • Lower investing costs than comparable retail plans

What are the advantages for employers in sponsoring a Group Retirement Savings Plan?

  • Contributions are tax-deductible for employers for certain plans
  • Inexpensive way to provide additional employee benefits
  • Shows employees you are invested in their well-being
  • Attract great people and reward key employees

Group Savings Plan


The mental health connection: help employees to reduce stress with a Group Savings Plan.

Employees rank ‘finances’ as their number one cause of stress. As we wrote in an article last year, helping employees to save for their futures in a direct way can assist them in taking control of their finances.

Going a step further, the implementation of an employer-sponsored Group Savings Plan provides the opportunity to offer employees financial literacy education. When you work with the Immix Group, we not only ensure Education sessions are made available to everyone in a variety of formats, we also ensure that all employees have access to qualified financial advisors.


A Group Savings Plan may be just what your company needs to stand out in the current hiring climate.

Why not find out more? Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss the best options for your company. We love to hear from you.


Further Reading

Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey 2021

HR Reporter The Ones Left Behind in the Great Resignation

The Right Time to Implement an Employee Group Savings Plan- Why and How

How to Design the Best Group Savings Plan for your Company

Harvard Business Review: Who is Driving the Great Resignation

Benefits Canada: Benefits tops list of retention tools for employers: survey

Employee Benefits vs a Straight Salary Raise: One is Significantly Better for your Business

Lindsay Byrka

Lindsay Byrka BA, BEd, CFP

Vice President, Immix Group: An Employee Benefits Company
A Suite 450 – 888 Dunsmuir St. Vancouver V6C 3K4
O 604-688-5262 E

Affordable and innovatively structured employee benefit programs