OTTAWA, July 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Mental illnesses are costing Canada about
$20.7 billion in 2012 by reducing the number of workers available in
the labour force. This cost is growing at a rate of approximately 1.9
per cent every year and is expected to rise to $29.1 billion annually
by 2030, according to a Conference Board estimate of the economic
impact of mental illness among working-age Canadians.
"When workers have poor mental health, they have a lessened capacity to
perform to their utmost. Sometimes workers with mental illnesses drop
out of the workforce completely," said Diana MacKay, Director,
Education, Health and Immigration. "With this loss to the labour supply
now exceeding $20 billion a year, employers and governments clearly
need to become more aware of mental health issues among Canadian
workers and committed to addressing them."
The labour force participation rate is the percentage of working-age
people who are either employed or unemployed, but are actively looking
for work. This report, Mental Health Issues in the Labour Force: Reducing the Economic Impact
on Canada, measures the costs to Canada's economy of lost labour market
participation from the six most common conditions afflicting the
working-age population - depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder,
social phobia, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. All six conditions
range in severity - from mild and sporadic to completely debilitating.
Furthermore, each illness has a stigma attached to it.
Based on the Conference Board's analysis, the labour market
participation lost to mental illness amounts to a $20.7 billion
decrease in Canada's gross domestic product in 2012. Almost 452,000
more Canadians would be participating in the labour force in 2012 if
they were not affected by mental illness.
These estimates of the economic impact do not include the costs of
patient care, insurance for employers, services in communities, and the
many intangible costs for the individuals affected and their families.
Stakeholders in the Canadian economy—particularly governments and
businesses— would benefit substantially by mitigating this cost to our
national economic performance.
"Mental illnesses are prevalent in our workplaces and they are taking a
significant toll. In a world where shortages of critical skills are top
of mind for many organizations, employers cannot afford to allow this
to continue," said Karla Thorpe, Director, Leadership and Human Resources. "If employers can be active
in helping people remain functional at work, then everyone stands to
gain - the individuals who are affected, firms, and the Canadian
economy as a whole."
The report was produced as part of the research agenda of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. This Conference Board of Canada executive network conducts research
and convenes leaders to address the pressures that chronic conditions
place on our economy, health systems, individual quality of life, and
the health of our communities.
This report was funded by Lundbeck Canada Inc.
SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448