Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Absent workers cost Canadian economy $16.6-billion last year

Absent employees cost the Canadian economy $16.6-billion in 2012, found a study by the Conference Board of Canada.

The Canadian economy lost $16.6-billion last year due to absenteeism, according to a study by the Conference Board of Canada.

The board's report says that on average, a full-time Canadian worker was absent for 9.3 days in 2011, based on Statistics Canada data, with the highest absenteeism rates found in the health care and social assistance sectors.

The cost of lost days amounted to an average of 2.4 per cent of the gross annual payroll in Canada in 2012.

Story continues below advertisement

The report found that the reasons for the absences ranged from illness to long-term leave of absences.

Those who worked in the public sector were absent for an average 12.9 days, compared to those in the private sector with an average of 8.2 days. Unionized workers had an absenteeism rate of 13.2 days, compared with 7.5 days for non-unionized workers.

The report also noted that despite the cost of the absences, only 46 per cent of employers admitted to tracking the number of days workers are absent and the reasons why.

The Canadian Press

Report an error Licensing Options

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Globe Newsletters

Get a summary of news of the day

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at