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

At Immix, our role goes far beyond the pricing of your program.


From time to time, we are approached by businesses that do not have an employee benefits program in place. Or, they have a plan, but they do not have an active relationship with their benefits broker. Surprisingly to us, they sometimes don’t know their broker at all!

At Immix, our relationship with our clients is very different. Unlike many brokers, our role as your benefits broker goes far beyond pricing. We like to say that we consider ourselves an extension of your HR Department- and your partner- in managing your benefits program.

In this article, I will give some insight into how Immix adds significant value for our clients with the support we provide.


Experience and advice

What are other employers like us doing for their employees
We are asked this every day! Firstly, we know what’s happening out there in the benefits marketplace. That’s because benefits are our focus at Immix: all day, every day. We not only have access to industry information, reporting and benchmarking tools; we have in-depth experience and solid relationships that keep us on the pulse of our industry. This means we know what you need to do to be competitive when it comes to your benefits offering.

In short, we are the experts, so you don’t have to be.


Financial expertise & transparency

I don’t understand my benefits plan pricing, can you explain it to me? 

Unfortunately, when people think of a benefits broker they, might just think of the messenger who delivers rate increases year after year. At Immix Group, we are not just handing over the pricing as set by the insurance company.

Because of the volume of clients with whom we work, our role is not limited to presenting you with the renewal document and pricing as determined by the insurance carrier. We are intricately involved in setting our own pricing and negotiating fair and sustainable rates. We want to ensure that you understand how the demographics, usage and other factors impact the pricing of the plan.

Some of our clients want to know all the details, and other are happy just to see a rate decrease with no questions asked! 

Whatever your level of interest in the financial details of the program, our point is that as your broker, we understand and wherever possible, keep your pricing fair and sustainable. 

Giving you the latest benefits news – accurately

Our clients continuously ask us about things seen or heard in the media. We’re glad you ask! In both print and broadcast, news stories often announce trends, changes, opportunities or products in such a way that can be very misleading. We want to give you accuracy instead.

For example, people hear regularly about “flex plans” and “pools” and “health spending accounts.” And of course, they hear continuously about how they can save money!

The “million-dollar baby” case is a typical example of a story that garners a ton of media attention and acts to unduly alarm people. In this case, a Canadian woman gave birth unexpectedly early while traveling in the United States, only to find she wasn’t covered under her travel insurance. The enormous hospital bill was nearly $1M.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest concerns for our clients is whether they’re covered when they travel. Could this happen to other pregnant women while travelling? Sure it could. But the situation wasn’t as simple as presented by the media. The details that you may not have heard make all the difference!

Is it worth looking into all the things the media proclaims? Absolutely. We can help you sort through the hype and rumour and ensure you understand the facts behind the headlines.


Still more ways we keep you up to date and fully informed:

The fine print
When was the last time you read your inch-thick Long-Term Disability contract? If your answer is never, you’re probably in the majority! At Immix our job is to understand your contracts and interpret them to you in plain, concise language. That way, you can skip confusing, unnecessary wordiness and rest assured that you’re taking care of your most important asset – your employees!

Uncommon employee situations 
Not sure how to approach a leave of absence, potential disability situation, maternity leave or some other employee matter? Don’t worry. No matter what the issue, chances are, we’ve dealt with a similar situation many times before! Let us help you out with whatever arises so you can ensure you’re protecting both your rights as an employer and the rights of your employees.

Educating employees about group benefits
We’re happy to help you organize and deliver staff education sessions on the group benefits program. From our perspective, it’s essential –and helpful to everyone, employees and employer alike – to promote understanding of the coverage.


Your staff will appreciate the value of:

  1. the plan you have taken so much consideration in implementing
  2. the programs and services available to help keep them healthy, and
  3. the opportunity to ask questions.

Added bonuses: highlighting the perks and discount programs, as well as the technological advancements that making claiming so easy!

At the end of the day, a well-thought-out benefits program works to keep your team healthy and engaged. And healthy employees are more productive, long-term employees.

Daily administrative support
Immix is here for you all the time. We are equipped to manage the daily administration of your program on your behalf. For example, just pop us an email and we can add, terminate or change an employee’s coverage.

Or maybe you would usually prefer to do this yourself, but you’re heading out on vacation or swamped in a particularly busy work time. Again, no problem. We’re happy to administer your program for you at any level that works best for you.

Representing you, to your insurer
Most importantly, remember that as your broker, we work for you!

Maybe you forgot to enrol an employee on time, or you need a special exception made because of an unusual situation. Or, a situation may arise where you as the employer firmly disagree with the insurance companies handling of a situation. 

This is where we come in- we know how to handle these situations to get the best outcome.

We have your best interests in mind.  Rather than going straight to the insurer, we want you to come to us with your questions and concerns. We work on behalf of our clients and in your best interest in dealing with the insurance carriers that underwrite and administer your programs.


Our role as your broker goes far beyond the pricing of the plan!

We are the benefits experts so that you don’t have to be. We partner with you and work with the insurance companies on your behalf with your best interests in mind.

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