The future of virtual healthcare: Considerations for employers, Public sector edition.
More than 90 per cent of Canadian employers agree their employees’ physical and mental health is a priority deserving of their support. This finding comes from a recent survey of plan sponsors—defined as employers that provide a health benefits package to their employees—across public and private sectors, demonstrating government organizations and crown corporations are among those employers taking employee wellbeing seriously.1
The workforce also views virtual healthcare as an imperative. Three-quarters of employees or plan members who have virtual care as part of their package say their benefits meet their needs. In contrast, only 52 per cent of employees without virtual care report the same level of satisfaction.2
Moreover, 68 per cent of those with access to virtual healthcare attest their workplace culture promotes wellbeing, compared to 39 per cent among those without virtual health benefits.3
Examining research collected by PMG Intelligence, Benefits Canada, and Canada Health Infoway over the past year, this report documents the trends transforming the virtual care landscape across the public sector for 2023—and what that could mean for the workplace.
Virtual care has become a valued benefit in the public sector.
The Canadian public sector and crown corporations have a cutting-edge view of virtual care, with 92 per cent agreeing it should be a standard component of group benefits, compared to 86 per cent of private sector employers.4 Likewise, 94 per cent of public sector employers say employee assistance programs (EAPs) should include virtual care, which is higher than the 81 per cent of employers who hold this view in the private sector.5
This could bode well for the recruitment and retention efforts of public sector organizations and crown corporations. Canadians perceive that the public sector pays less than the private sector, leading to challenges in recruitment.6 And 36 per cent of public sector employees say they would consider leaving their current role if another opportunity were presented to them,7 which can put pressure on retention. By adopting more comprehensive benefits that public sector employees show demand for, such as virtual care, employers can help counteract these trends.
But the private sector is ahead on virtual care adoption. According to Benefits Canada, virtual care is offered by 31 per cent of private sector employers, compared to 23 per cent in the public sector.8 While many public sector employers recognize its value, some have yet to act.
Download the industry report The future of virtual healthcare: Considerations for employers, Public sector edition.
1 PMG Intelligence (April 18, 2023). The Changing Pharmacy and Virtual Care Landscape: An in-depth study of consumers, employers, pharmacists, and group benefits advisors in Canada. Employer / Plan Sponsor research summary, p. 5.
2 Benefits Canada (2022). 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey. Charting New Paths: The role of the workplace and health benefits plans to help navigate a post pandemic world, p. 26.
4 PMG Intelligence (April 18, 2023). The Changing Pharmacy and Virtual Care Landscape: An in-depth study of consumers, employers, pharmacists, and group benefits advisors in Canada. Employer / Plan Sponsor research summary, p. 51.
Ng E. S. & McGinnis Johnson J. (August 24, 2019). Game of Loans: The Relationship Between Education Debt, Social Responsibility Concerns, and Making a Career Choice in the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0899764019867773
7 Cairo G. & Diotte S. (March 1, 2022). How total compensation helps the public sector with employee retention. Ceridian. Retrieved from https://www.ceridian.com/ca/blog/how-total-compensation-helps-the-public-sector-with-employee-retention
8 Benefits Canada (2022). 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey. Charting New Paths: The role of the workplace and health benefits plans to help navigate a post pandemic world, p. 33.