Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Share Information on Farm Estates

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Its Saskatoon Financial Planning Division provides business ownershouseholds, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. In this latest Wiegers Financial tip they share information and advice for  Farm Estates Wiegers Financial Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts 

The Future of Your Farm's Estate: Top 6 Considerations

As a Canadian farmer, you’ve lived through your fair share of unpredictability. Whether it was the farm crisis or one too many years of lackluster harvests, you took your farm through the worst combinations Mother Nature and the markets could throw at you, beating the odds to build something your family is truly proud of.

Looking back at the ups and downs of farming, you’d never take any of it back. And you want to leave the challenge behind for the next generation so that your family’s legacy can continue to flourish long after you’re gone. Successful farmers are constantly thinking about what’s next. If you’re over 50, planning the future of your farm should be your top task. The work you put in now could set your farm’s estate up for one of the most anticipated outcomes in your entire farming career. You know how rare that can be in the agriculture industry!

Speaking of your career, you’ve worn many hats over the years: accountant, labourer, veterinarian, weatherman, mechanic, scientist – the list goes on. Through the demands of your job, you’ve learned to ask for help when you need it. So if you’re willing to call your neighbour down the road at harvest, you should be willing to work with the expert up the street on financials.

A financial advisor provides leadership when you need it. They have your best interests in mind while navigating the blind spots of your farm’s estate, connecting a knowledgeable team of specialists to determine how to best plan your family farm’s future. The most common regrets farm estate financial advisors hear from farmers are that they wish they would have talked about it either ten years earlier before they lost their health, or before inflation led to a big misstep in their tax strategy.

You may be thinking about farm estate planning because you’ve been pressed by your child who’s made sacrifices for the farm or you’ve witnessed what happens when farmers leave a mess behind. Don’t wait until things fall apart. If you have a lot of unanswered questions about your farm’s estate, proper planning will bring clarity to problems that exist and provide answers that may solve them. Bring in your biggest concerns and prepare to give your financial advisor honest answers to the following questions.

These are the top six considerations when you're farm estate planning:

1. How do I want to spend the rest of my life?

Is it important to maintain the standard of living that you’ve become accustomed to? Or will you sacrifice your standard of living in the future so your kids can farm?

There are a variety of options for either scenario. For example, if you’re retiring, you could potentially sell two-quarters of land so you can continue to live comfortably.

2. How can I minimize the tax impact?

This is a big one as there are many opportunities. Financial advisors minimize the tax impact on a farmer who’s turning the farm over to the children who will be farming moving forward. They do this through a framework of tax minimization strategies such as capital gains exemptions or tax-deferred rollover options.

3. Do I want to consider family harmony?

Having more than one child makes handing off the farm estate to one child a complicated matter. Land prices are high and farm values are increasing to millions of dollars. What happens often is that suddenly you have a $5 or $10 million farm and the children who have not chosen to farm, get nothing or very little as part of the farm estate. Financial advisors try to find out if giving non-farming children a fair payout is a priority. If it is important, they help you get a life insurance plan in place to compensate them when the moment comes. For example, if your farm is transferred to one child, the other two children will receive a large insurance contract.

Sometimes farming children have made sacrifices to help their parents on the farm. They built equity in the farm when they could have worked somewhere else. In other cases, farming children were paid fairly and didn’t have to sacrifice, but the farm value went up and they want a piece of it. It’s critical to look objectively at the effort that’s been made to reward your children fairly.

4. Are my children’s marriages strong?

Your farm could have been in your family for three or four generations. Over that time, your family might have built outside assets and a large nest egg. One divorce could cost half of your family farm and more. Most farmers don’t want to pass their hard-earned estate onto someone who isn’t family. Divorce is common. Talk about how it could affect your farm before the nuptials. Your future in-laws should know your farm is protected in the event of a marital breakdown.

Financial advisors recommend pre or postnuptial contracts. The best time to write this contract is before the marriage but it can happen afterward. For instance, “We’re not passing the farm onto you unless you sign this contract that says if your marriage doesn’t make it down the road, the farm will stay in our family name.” This conversation is critical because farms are now worth millions. If you don’t take precautions on nuptials, half of your family farm could disappear.

5. Is my succession plan viable?

Most farmers choose to pass the land on to their children. But what happens if all of your children go off to university and don’t come back to the farm? If you do have a child who wants to continue farming, have you thought about whether he or she would make a good successor? Financial advisors recognize when people have the financial acumen to run the business and operations side of farming. And when they don’t.

For example, your middle-aged child could have been farming his entire life but doesn’t have a penny to his name. He likely isn’t the ideal financial custodian of your estate. A good financial advisor must tell you what they’ve observed and made sure you’re indicating that in the plan. Otherwise, handing your farm over to a child who continually mismanages money could cost your family’s legacy soon after you sign over the farm. It’s your responsibility to make it possible for your successor to succeed. Whoever you choose, you’ll want to ensure that the farm estate will be financially viable moving forward.

6. What are my objectives?

You and your spouse may have different goals of what to do with the farm estate. For example, one of you may want to transfer everything and the other could be more conservative. Financial advisors will ask questions to find out what’s important to each of you. This will give you an idea of where you may want to compromise and what you’re not willing to let go of. Then, they’ll begin to coordinate legal and accounting to finalize your farm’s estate plan.

You don’t want to leave critical decisions related to succession planning, marital breakdowns, unexpected taxes, and more to a spouse who could be reeling after you’re gone. Managing your farm estate without a plan is the biggest mistake you can make as a farmer. Talk to your Wiegers Financial & Benefits financial advisor if you’re over 50 with questions about your farm estate planning.


Cliff Wiegers, CFP, TEP, CH.F.C., CLU, B.Comm

Financial Planner, Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc. Insurance Representative, Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.


Wiegers’ Benefits Consulting Division includes many consultants and support staff who custom-design the most employee-valued and cost-effective group benefit, personal insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement plans available. Contact Wiegers today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors Wiegers Financial & Benefits Discuss Wills for Expecting Parents

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Its Saskatoon Financial Planning Division provides business ownershouseholds, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. In this latest Wiegers Financial tip they share information for expectant parents- Wiegers Financial Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts


Writing a Will Before Baby is Born: A Step-by-Step Guide for Expectant Parents

The transition from being child-free to becoming a new parent is one of the best times to evaluate how you want your baby to be raised in the future. While preparing for a baby, expectant parents should think about all possible outcomes relating to their future beyond which colour to paint the nursery.

When you’re married without children, you know that everything you have will automatically be given to your spouse should you pass away. Preparing for a baby should include initializing a plan in the event of an untimely death of one or both parents so that your child is fully supported.

Before you get into the process of writing a will, you should know what it is. A will is a legal document that outlines your final wishes and provides an action plan that details how you want them to be carried out. If you have named beneficiaries in your will, you need to ensure that they match the beneficiaries you have named on other plans like your life insurance. It is also very important that your will supports what you have established in your financial plan.

You likely haven’t written your will yet, as nearly half of all respondents to a 2016 BMO survey haven’t made a will (Advisor’s Edge). It’s easy to find reasons to put this task off – maybe you’ve never been around someone who’s died, you have no incentive to get it done, or you’d rather not think about your own mortality. But when you choose to bring a little person into your family, there’s a new element added to your life. And some parents, unfortunately, forget to write a will which leaves a mess that, for not much money, could be resolved.

Will planning is part of the financial services process. In most cases, our financial advisors will prompt clients about their will in the initial conversations around their future. The reason they do this is that your plans could be compromised based on discrepancies between your insurance and investment forms and your will. Simply put, your best intentions could be wrong or unfulfilled without having a plan in place.

How to write a will for expectant parents:

  1. DETERMINING YOUR BIG PICTURE

Your will is as unique to you as your life. Therefore, both you and your spouse should start the process of writing a will before the baby is born with an open conversation. Thinking through your final wishes will bring you peace of mind and leave one less thing to worry about while you’re busy raising your child.
First, you’ll brainstorm your hopes for your family’s future while considering specific details, such as type of funeral, distribution of financial assets, and healthcare preferences before putting pen to paper. Once you have an idea of your big picture, you’ll list every what-if scenario that could result from your death. If it helps, you’ll begin with the question, “if I’m not here tomorrow, what will happen to my spouse and child?” If both you and your spouse were to pass away suddenly, you must ask yourselves, “Who do we want to look after our child?” and “Can that person afford to be a guardian to our child”? Our financial advisors don’t mind if you come to your initial meeting with some uncertainty about your big picture. Like most folks, you might not have been asked about your final wishes before, so you likely won’t have an answer anyway.

Here are a few of the typical questions expectant parents should anticipate from us:

  • Who would agree to be a legal guardian for your young child?
  • Would the guardian of your child also be the trustee of your assets?
  • Who would you feel comfortable handling your affairs (i.e. who do you want as executor)?
  • Who would make medical decisions for you if you couldn’t?

Starting the will discussion early will help you answer the what-ifs you have relating to your family’s future.


  1. SHARING YOUR PLAN

Once you’ve built a draft idea of your big picture plan, you’re on to the next stage in will-writing for new parents: sharing your plans with those named in the will. This may seem like the easy part of the process, but it’s often overlooked either intentionally or unintentionally. Because you’ve taken the time to think through your final wishes, you’ll definitely need to share a draft of your will with your spouse. Your wills don’t have to be the same, but they should convey each of your wishes. It may seem like a heavy conversation topic leading up to or after the birth of your first child. However, having a talk about your final wishes is a gift that will keep you on the same page as partners well into the future. It’s crucial to be as open as you possibly can.

In addition, you’ll need to communicate your plans to all those named in the will, not just your spouse. Ensure everyone mentioned in the will agrees to their position as executors, trustees, legal guardians, etc. For example, one of our own financial advisors was asked if she would become a guardian to four kids from someone close to her if they passed away. She determined that while she had two kids of her own today, she wouldn’t be able to take on the responsibility of four additional children tomorrow. After giving the request some serious thought, she said, “No, I can’t do that”.  Ask for feedback on your plans or be open to making changes. Your first choice regarding your final wishes may not want the responsibility.


  1. CONFIRMING YOUR WISHES

You’ve drafted a big picture plan, gotten approval from your family members and those named in the will, and now you want to finalize it. You can either write a handwritten (a.k.a. holographic) will, use a digital service to create one online, or report it to your lawyer to formalize one. All options are perfectly legal. However, we recommend verifying your plans with a lawyer.

Do you need a lawyer to make a will?

Hiring a lawyer to write your will ensures there are no questions asked after you’ve passed away. Handwritten wills often leave out key details, but lawyers are trained to turn over every stone to produce a document that will do what you want it to do. We can, if you like, refer you to an exceptional lawyer who can help you prepare a rock-solid will where you’ll get priceless accuracy. Plus, if you’ve followed this process from the start, you’ve done most of the work upfront.

Providing your lawyer with your nitty-gritty details will save you from lengthy consultations with them, so you can spend more time enjoying life with your new baby. Just make sure your spouse and/or executor know where you’re storing your finalized will and how they can access it.  It’s important to note that this third step is ongoing. Every five years or so, both you and your spouse should read through your wills to confirm and update as needed.

Preparing for a baby is an exciting time that should include some thought about protecting them in the future should either you or your spouse pass away. Talk to your Wiegers Financial & Benefits advisor about initializing a will. If you’ve been through recent life changes, potentially including having a second child, you should review your will.


Maurice Roberge, B.A., B.Ed.

Sales Support Coordinator, Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.


Wiegers’ also has a Benefits Consulting Division thatincludes many consultants and support staff who custom-design the most employee-valued and cost-effective group benefit, personal insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement plans available. Contact Wiegers today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Wiegers Financial & Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors 


Trusted Saskatoon Insurance Pro's at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Explain Critical Illness Insurance

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Its Saskatoon Financial Planning Division provides business ownershouseholds, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. In this latest Wiegers Financial tip they explain the importance of critical illness insurance. Wiegers Financial Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts


Unpacking Critical Illness Insurance and Why It Matters

No one wants to be told they have a terminal or critical illness. If you suffer from a heart attack, stroke, or cancer you could lead a normal life again. However, you need to plan for the financial cost of surviving a life-altering illness. In this article, we discuss key points about critical illness insurance and ask two Wiegers Financial & Benefits staff members with firsthand experience to explain the impact it has had on their lives.

Pat Kyle’s husband was diagnosed with a critical illness a few years ago after suffering a stroke at the age of 52.

Pat says: “You never think it’s going to happen to you. Everyone lives in a bubble. Even the healthiest people may have an illness at some point. In the moment, you’re so removed from your day-to-day and fixated on your situation that you don’t even think about it. In my case, I came back to work and it wasn’t even on my mind to apply. I was so concerned about my husband’s health. It wasn’t my top priority to fill in the application to submit the claim, but I knew it was there.
As the first employee at Wiegers to go through the critical illness insurance process, it was emotional and gratifying to know that I have that piece of the program to support me. It was very helpful to be able to put a claim in and ease the financial burden. It took away stress. Just the fact that we had it made all the difference in the world. That lump sum payment is a beautiful thing.
I’m now an advocate of both critical illness and life insurance. To me, they’re more important than purchasing an RRSP. My husband had a stroke, then a heart attack, and it builds. These things all work together. Strokes can happen at any time. It doesn’t matter what age. There are so many fundraisers or steak nights for people who are sick. You may know someone who has pulled money out of RRSPs to help their child have a chance to survive. Critical illness insurance protects the wealth that you’ve created and that others around you have created, too. It supports the family, not just the person affected by the illness.”


Kim Chicoine’s husband was involved in a serious accident at a young age that left a lot of uncertainty about whether he would survive.

Kim says: “Sitting in the hospital beside my husband, I didn’t have to worry about the finances if things went the other way. Knowing that there wasn’t going to be a change in our finances because we had that critical illness piece in our puzzle was so huge. There was the potential that if his condition didn’t improve, we could have a critical illness payout. We ended up not getting the payout because he got better. It’s great when it pays out, but it’s also great when it doesn’t. The money stress is not there. You know your finances aren’t going to change and you’re covered.”

What is critical illness insurance?

Critical illness insurance is meant to relieve the financial burden of recovery, so you can focus on the task at hand. It can be purchased for children as young as 60 days up to those at or nearing retirement.

It’s one of the newest products on the personal insurance market, having been available in Canada for approximately 20 years and internationally for nearly 40 years.

Critical illness insurance is a “wealth-protecting product”, says Pat Kyle. It keeps your finances at status quo – maintaining your debt, bills, mortgage, etc. – while you focus on getting better.

Why did the need for critical illness insurance arise?

A South African cardiac surgeon, Dr. Marius Barnard, pioneered critical illness insurance after he noticed his surviving patients were struggling financially. While it was excellent that his patients were living after experiencing a life-threatening illness like heart disease, Dr. Barnard observed they experienced a significant drop in their standard of living. The patients who had overcome surgery had emerged to a world where their quality of life suffered due to the costs associated with recovery.

Which conditions are classified as a critical illness?

Each insurance carrier’s definition of critical illness differs slightly. In general, there are 26 covered conditions with the top three being stroke, heart attack, and cancer.

What’s the benefit of using critical illness insurance?

The payout is designed to help support yourself and your family during extremely difficult personal health challenges. You can get policies starting as low as 25 thousand dollars in a tax-free cheque that you don’t need to declare on your tax return.

The value of critical illness insurance is totally dependent on your personal situation, for instance:

  • a stay-at-home parent could provide for their family with their partner’s critical illness payout;
  • a self-employed individual would need critical illness insurance to cover them in the absence of workplace benefits such as long- and short-term disability;
  • or a recent grad would be able to maintain their student debt payments, etc. while going through treatments.

It’s important that you consider both life insurance and critical illness in tandem. Each situation will vary in priority as to when they’re paid out. There is no one-solution-fits-all insurance product.

When is the best time to buy critical illness insurance?

The ideal time to buy critical illness insurance is when you’re healthy. If you’re not in good health, it’s a more difficult application process.

Kim Chicoine’s husband is still young, but his health has changed. If the Chicoine’s didn’t have critical illness insurance prior to the accident, they would likely be declined. Because they had it, they will continue to have it in the future.

Family history also comes into play during the underwriting process of critical illness. Your parents’ diagnoses can affect your application, so it’s best to apply while they’re healthy.

What happens to your life insurance after using critical illness insurance?

Nothing happens to your personal life insurance after you use critical illness insurance. It depends on your personal life insurance that you’ve been medically underwritten for with an insurance carrier. If you’ve continued to pay the premiums, your life insurance is still enforced. It is difficult to get life insurance after making a critical insurance claim, so it’s better to have both products beforehand. You’ll want your advisor to package life insurance with critical insurance when you’re healthy.

How long, on average, does it take to get paid after a diagnosis?

There is a clause that says you need to pass a survival period of 30 days. After that, payment can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month. After the survival period, your doctor will need to give evidence to support the need. The decision to payout is dependent on the attending physician’s statement and all other sources.

How can the funds be used once they’ve been distributed?

If you pass the 30-day survival period, there are no restrictions on how you use the money once it’s been paid out. You decide how to use it. For example, you could use it to cover experimental medical treatment to see specialists that may not be covered by the Canadian health care system.

What will purchasing a premium do?

You can upgrade a base policy with a simple lump sum payout by adding riders. When you add additional riders it adds additional costs, but it can help in certain situations to have the return of premiums.

Here are a few riders to consider:

  1. Return of premium on death rider: the lump sum won’t get paid out, but your beneficiary will be paid out what you have paid into the policy.
  2. Disability waiver premium: if you become disabled, the insurance company waives the premiums.
  3. Rider name? If you have a policy for 15 years, you can give back the policy and get back everything you put into it. Once the policy is finished you get all your premiums back.
  4. Second event rider: pays out if the second condition is different than the first.

Prioritize your future self

Pat Kyle says: “Critical illness insurance manages the risk of what could happen in your early years, so you don’t have to take money out of savings. My financial priorities are 1. life insurance, 2. critical illness insurance, 3. slush fund, 4. RRSP. Yes, saving is important. But if something comes up your savings aren’t going to last. In my opinion, it’s not about 'should I get critical illness insurance?' it’s 'why shouldn’t I have critical illness insurance?' Protect your future self.”
Kim Chicoine says: “Peace of mind is important. In Pat’s situation, it paid out, in mine it didn’t. But I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the hospital without it. I wouldn’t have been able to focus on my husband; I would have been stressed out about our finances.”


Your ability to earn an income is worth more than your house and vehicle combined. Everyone gets coverage for their material possessions and it’s important to insure yourself, too. The best time to start the process is when you’re healthy and you don’t think you’ll ever need it. Speak to a financial advisor at Wiegers Financial & Benefits about finding an affordable critical illness policy.

Wiegers’ Benefits Consulting Division includes many consultants and support staff who custom-design the most employee-valued and cost-effective group benefit, personal insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement plans available. Contact Wiegers today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Wiegers Financial & Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits Advisors 


Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors At Wiegers Financial & Benefits Tips on Financial Health

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Its Saskatoon Financial Planning Division provides business ownershouseholds, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. In this latest Wiegers Financial tip they share information and advice that is good for your health! Wiegers Financial Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts


How Planning for Your Financial Success is Good for Your Health

If you’re like many Canadians – four out of ten of them, to be exact – you feel stressed when you think about money.  And while some stress is not necessarily problematic, chronic stress can lead to:
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune functioning problems
  • Unhealthy habits including smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol
Stressing about money, then, can be harmful to your physical health (not to mention the potential negative impacts to your mental health, relationships, productivity at work, and a whole host of other things in your life). It’s a problem worth solving… and the sooner, the better.


The solution, in many cases, is working with a financial advisor who can help you plan for your financial success. Your advisor should, at minimum, talk with you about what matters to you, what your short- and long-term life goals are, and what you can realistically achieve (and in what timeframe). And it pays off, in more ways than one. In a recent survey, people who said they are financially prepared were:
  • Almost 24% more likely to exercise one or more hours each week
  • Almost 25% are more likely to say they are “very healthy”
So what can you do to be better financially prepared? Here are a few tips to help strengthen both your financial and physical health:
  1. Work with a financial advisor (a HUMAN advisor – not a robot) who can help get you from where you are to where you want to be. Don’t underestimate this step. If you decide against working with an expert, it’s akin to providing yourself life-altering legal or medical advice that could also wreak havoc on the lives of the people you love most. By contrast, if you work with a financial advisor, he or she will genuinely care to help you achieve your goals, and will have the experience and expertise to help you do it.
  2. Manage your debt. For most Canadians, debt causes stress – and the higher the debt, the greater the chance of depression and high blood pressure. Again, a qualified financial advisor can help you develop a plan for getting your debt – and the resulting stress – under control.
  3. Save for your future. If you’re among the 60% of Canadians who worry they won’t have enough money saved for their golden years, don’t despair. You-know-who can also help you develop a plan for saving that will help ensure a retirement you can look forward to.
If you’re not sure where to turn in finding a financial advisor who will work in your best interests now and in years to come, ask your friends, family, and co-workers if they can recommend someone. You can also, and probably should, look online for unbiased, uncensored reviews like on Google. The same as in every other industry, some advisors have more experience and better reputations than others, so it’s important you do your research. It’s worth it to invest the time, now and later, in helping to ensure your future financial success.


Wiegers Financial & Benefits has a trusted team of more than 20 financial advisors and support staff includes individuals who are true experts in their field, a number of whom specialize in working with clients with very unique needs. 

Wiegers Financial & Benefits  are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors 


Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefit & Insurance Pro's at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Explain Employee Benefits

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Its Saskatoon Financial Planning Division provides business ownershouseholds, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. In this latest Wiegers Financial tip they share information and advice for business owners. Wiegers Financial Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts


How Benefits Can Help Bolster Your Employees' Mental Health AND Your Company's Bottom Line

What Mental Health Is and Why It Can’t Be Ignored

Most of us have heard – probably more than a few times – that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. There’s no denying the truth of that but increasingly, and all the more during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an understanding that mental health is just as important and impactful as physical health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines positive mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (WHO, 2001, p. 1). Clearly, we all strive for this – or at least should be – but not all of us are mentally well, all of the time. Indeed, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) reports[1] that:

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend, or colleague.
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

What’s more, though final numbers aren’t yet available, Fardous Hosseiny, the National Director of Research and Policy at the CMHA predicted that by 2020, depression would be the leading cause of disability in Canada (preliminary indications are that Mr. Hosseiny was correct). Even more staggering is that approximately 1.6 million people continue to have their mental illness needs unmet. As Mr. Hosseiny explains, “Mental illnesses are episodic, but the key is that if it’s untreated, that’s when it’s really disruptive. We know that untreated mental illnesses are only exasperated with time.” Given the number of people not being helped, Mr. Hosseiny suspects that the number of Canadians who suffer from mental illness each year is even higher than what research shows (1 in 4 Canadians as opposed to 1 in 5), and that the availability of support systems – or lack thereof – plays a major role.[2]  Clearly, something needs to be done.

Your Group Benefits Plan Can Be a Terrific Support to Your Employees and Their Mental Health. 

Here’s How.

My team and I have been promoting the importance of mental health and mental health supports in group benefit plans for many years – long before the stigma surrounding mental illness started to decay. One of the most effective tools available is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can be added to a traditional group benefits plan. Though the number of EAP providers is higher than ever, and the number of options available is ever-increasing, most EAPs provide, at minimum, confidential short-term counselling to employees and their spouses and dependent children, as well as referrals and other forms of support designed to help bolster mental health.

Other options include a robust Health benefits plan that provides coverage for mostly physical concerns, knowing that when an individual cannot afford to pay for a health product or service, his or her mental health can be severely impacted as a result. The same idea is behind Wellness and Health Spending Accounts. Providing your employees with healthcare dollars to spend as they need or choose to do helps reduce or even eliminate the financial concern that might otherwise present a barrier to their getting the help and support they need.


The Business Case for Mental Health Supports in Benefits
Aside from the obvious compassionate reasons for providing mental health supports at and through work, there’s a strong business case for it too. The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) estimates that the total cost to Canada’s economy incurred by mental health problems and illnesses is well over $50 billion annually or nearly $1,400 for every person living in Canada in 2016. This includes significant employer costs due to absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover.[3]  And it makes sense. Healthier, happier employees tend to be more productive than their less healthy, less happy colleagues so investing in your employees’ mental health helps you – and your business – too.

It’s a wonderful thing that awareness and acceptance of the need to protect and care for mental health is finally on an upswing, and the fact that employers can do so much for their employees’ mental health carries exponential benefit for everyone involved, including the employers themselves (given the positive impact on their businesses).  As cliché as it might sound, benefits really are an investment in your team, and there’s never been a greater need than now for the mental health supports they provide.

Debra L. Wiegers, GBA, CFP, CLU., Ch.F.C.

Benefits Consultant, Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.

Wiegers’ Benefits Consulting Division includes 11 consultants and support staff who custom-design the most employee-valued and cost-effective group benefit, personal insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement plans available. Contact Wiegers today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Wiegers Financial & Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits Advisors 


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S & E Trusted Online Directories Inc
TrustedSaskatoon.com
129 21st St E #500
Saskatoon, SK   S7K 0B2
Ph: 306.244.4150

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