Nearly every type of organization is affected by the signficant financial and non-financial impacts of avoidable absenteeism.


Absenteeism in the health sector remains a long-standing challenge worldwide. Absenteeism reduces the effectiveness of health care delivery and compromises the quality of services because fewer workers are left on duty, resulting in work overload or interrupted service delivery.

These problems are compounded by the fact that Canadian health care workers are inadequate in numbers, skill-mix, and distribution across our country.


Recent studies indicate that teachers are taking an increased number of sick days. A 2016 report from School Boards’ Co-operative found that Ontario teacher and education worker absenteeism has risen dramatically from 8.86 days in 2010-2011 to 10.29 days in 2014-2015.

When a teacher is absent, an occasional teacher is assigned to the classroom and there is a concern about the continuity of teaching personnel in the classroom. Absenteeism may have a negative impact on the delivery of the curriculum and the education program. And the cost of teacher absenteeism is significant. The SBCI report estimates that the province-wide costs of teacher absences in Ontario ballooned to over $920 million in the 2014-2015 school year.


Civil servants are missing a record number of workdays. All told, the average public sector worker missed 13.5 days of work last year, the most ever. The gap between public and private sector absenteeism has been widening for years. Last year that disparity hit an all-time high, as government workers took 5.2 more sick days than those in the private sector.

Private Sector

Absenteeism contributes to a substantial amount of lost productivity and revenue for Canadian organizations and the economy. It’s estimated that absenteeism cost the Canadian economy $16.6 billion in 2012.

Despite the enormous cost of absenteeism, less than half of Canadian track employee absences. But there are certain drivers of absenteeism that an employer can control – creating a health work environment and implementing a structured absence management program.

Are you concerned about the impact avoidable absences might have on your organization?