Increasingly, traditional benefits packages are disappearing from the Canadian business landscape. As the face of the Canadian workforce continually changes, companies are finding it necessary to address these shifts. The reality for many employers is that it is becoming more and more difficult to recruit workers if they are not able to offer an attractive benefits package. It is not simply enough to offer affordable health insurance; there must also be the option to choose. Today, many Canadians opt for a cafeteria-style benefits package that offers them the freedom to design a customized benefits plan.
Although flexible benefits, commonly referred to as cafeteria-style, have been around for more than 20 years, they are only now gaining in popularity. Employers and workers alike are attracted to the flexibility they offer. They allow individuals to choose from a menu of benefits what best suits their needs. By designing a unique combination of health care coverage, employees are able to provide themselves with a feeling of security and protection. These benefits can be offered by an employer in their employee benefits package, or can be bought through a private health insurance provider in the form of supplemental health coverage.
This move away from the rigidity of traditional benefits packages comes as no surprise when one considers the variety of life circumstances among the Canadian population. Increasingly, family households have both partners working thereby causing a considerable overlap in benefits. With flexible coverage, one partners traditional plan is complemented and any gaps in the familys coverage are easily filled. Younger Canadians may find themselves planning for a family and need to think about the necessity for vision insurance and/or dental insurance. Alternatively, aging individuals may need to secure a variety of previously unneeded benefits, such as disability insurance.
It is predicted that when the baby boomers are ready to retire, a massive job shortage will result. Subsequently, employers may find it challenging to compete for prospective employees. Perhaps it will be the employer who can appreciate the evolving needs of Canadians who will triumph.