Deloitte research reveals significant return on investment for  workplace mental health programs

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Deloitte research reveals significant return on investment for workplace mental health programs

Median annual ROI more than double for every dollar spent by companies with programs in place for more than three years

Toronto, November 4, 2019 – First-of-its-kind Canadian research has found that positive returns on investment (ROI) of workplace mental health initiatives are within reach for Canadian businesses, according to a report released today by Deloitte Canada. Analysis reveals that companies with mental health programs in place for one year had a median annual ROI of $1.62 for every dollar invested. For companies with programs in place for three or more years, the median annual ROI is more than double—valued at $2.18 for every dollar spent.

The report, The ROI in workplace mental health programs: Good for people, good for business, explores historical investment and savings data from seven large Canadian companies at various stages of rolling out mental health programs and supports. It also includes interviews with these seven business leaders and three others, including Air Canada, ATB Financial, Bell, Canada Life, CIBC, Desjardins Group, Enbridge Inc., Energir, Husky Energy, and Morneau Shepell.

“There’s both an economic and moral imperative for Canadian employers to take action, recognizing that the cost to the Canadian economy of poor mental health in our workplaces is estimated to be $50 billion annually,” said Anthony Viel, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Canada. “The findings from this report provide a business case that is impossible to ignore. Organizations committed to delivering and measuring impactful employee wellness programs are creating healthier workplaces and seeing investments in their people’s mental health pay off.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Wellness programs are more likely to achieve positive ROI when they support employees along the entire spectrum of mental health—from promotion of well-being to intervention and care.
  • Employers could achieve greater program ROI by prioritizing investing in higher-impact areas such as leadership training and preventive interventions, including psychological care benefits.
  • If employers measure their baseline data and take stock of existing initiatives, many organizations would realize they have already started to use the right tools to strengthen workplace mental health.
  • Putting in place mechanisms to measure performance can enable organizations to achieve desired program impact, improve adoption rates, and enhance decision-making.

“The negative impact poor workplace mental health has on Canada’s economy is staggering. Through this first-of-its-kind Canadian research, the blueprint for building a healthier labour force has been established,” said Craig Alexander, Chief Economist, Deloitte Canada. “To ensure Canada continues to grow its economy and improve its competitiveness on the global stage, employers across the country should act now and gain an edge—by investing in their people’s mental well-being. The business case is clear.”

Organizations beginning to explore investments in mental health programs struggle with where to start. Once the process has begun, they may also encounter common roadblocks. To assist on both fronts, the report contains a blueprint for a phased program implementation and an approach to measure the outcomes of an employer’s workplace mental health programs.

“We’re continuing our journey to implement the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. As part of this commitment, our firm is focused on increasing our mental health benefits and wellness programs to better meet the needs of an agile, multi-generational and high-performing workplace,” said Viel. “We took a significant step forward this Fall by enhancing the amount of mental health benefits for our people—expanding the range of psychological service providers and increasing the benefit from $300 up to $4,000 annually per person.”

For more information and to read the full Deloitte Canada report, click here.

About the study
Based on an analysis of historical investment and savings data from seven Canadian companies at various stages of their mental health investment journey, and complemented by interviews with subject-matter experts and leaders from 10 companies, the report examines the typical ROI of workplace mental health programs, unearths both common challenges and enablers of program success, and identifies leading practices for employers to consider.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights, and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.  Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Our global Purpose is making an impact that matters. At Deloitte Canada, that translates into building a better future by accelerating and expanding access to knowledge. We believe we can achieve this Purpose by living our shared values to lead the way, serve with integrity, take care of each other, foster inclusion, and collaborate for measurable impact.

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