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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Ontarians work hard - and hardly play

By Linda White
Special to The Toronto Sun

A whopping 89% of Ontarians who have ever taken vacation agree that time away together enables friends, family and loved ones to reconnect; yet, they are skipping holidays and spending extra time holed up at work.

According to the second annual poll, vacation deprivation is on the rise, with 40% of employed residents not taking all of their yearly allotted vacation days.

This statistic has increased as last year's poll found that 32% of residents weren't accessing all of their vacation time.

Nationwide, four out of 10 Canadians are missing out on vacation days. Besides indicating an imbalance between personal and professional time, this also represents approximately $8 billion being handed back to employers in unused holidays annually across the country.

"Ontarians are clearly working by nature, and more hours spent on the job often means less quality time with family, friends and loved ones," says stress and wellness expert Beverly Beuermann-King. "Vacations are important because they encourage escapism and play, allowing individuals to reconnect -- away from the stresses associated with everyday life."

Work hard, play even harder

While 89% of Ontarian vacationers believe that taking vacations with the important people in their lives creates closer relationships, a full one- third did not take time for holidays with close family and friends within the last year.

Residents of Quebec (73%) are the most likely in the country to have made time for vacation with friends and family within the last year, while residents from Atlantic Canada (58%) are the least likely to have taken holidays with loved ones during this timeframe.

Live to work, or work to live?

All work and no play is making many Ontarians vacation-deprived. In fact, four in 10 employed Ontarians are not using all of their vacation time during the year, and 77% of these workers typically have up to 14 holidays left over at the end of the year. So, which provinces' populations are the most vacation-deprived?

  • Turns out, there's a holiday drought in Alberta, since 58% of employed residents do not use all of their vacation time during the year.

  • Hardworking Ontarians, Saskatchewanians, and Manitobans are also amongst the most vacation-deprived in the country. Forty per cent of workers in Ontario and 38% in Manitoba/Saskatchewan are not taking all of their allotted holidays.

  • Workers in Quebec are the least vacation-deprived (28%); however, this still means a third do not access all of their holidays each year.

    The great escape

    Even though many Ontarians aren't taking all of their vacation time each year, the vast majority of workers believe it is important to use up every outstanding holiday. In fact, 93% of Ontarians think that accessing all of one's vacation days is important to managing stress.

    So what are the benefits of taking vacation? Almost half of Ontarians (44%) report that they feel refreshed and ready to go back to work at the end of their holidays, while 34% of workers feel relaxed, even though they do not look forward to returning to the office.

    "To truly benefit from vacation it's important that people use all of their allotted time," adds Beuermann-King. "For most individuals, taking a day here or there isn't enough to fully relieve built-up stress. Workers need to set up specific periods devoted to relaxation, to release accumulated tension and return to work recharged and ready to go."

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