Canadians get an average two weeks’ vacation annually which is substantially less that the European average of four to six weeks.

Vacation time taken by only one in three Canadians workers


Most Canadians get two weeks’ vacation per year, perhaps more as they gain seniority, but only one in three actually takes it, according to a survey by the payroll management company, ADP Canada. Another 28 per cent report taking less than half of their allotted vacation time.

Katrina Onstad.

Katrina Onstad says there are several reasons why many Canadians do not take their vacation time and several reasons why they should. (Joanna Haughton)


‘Overworked and exhausted…has cultural currency’

“I think in Canada right now our relationship to work has become somewhat dysfunctional,” says Katrina Onstad, journalist and the author of The Weekend Effect. “We’re at a moment where being busy, being overworked and exhausted actually has a kind of cultural currency.

“Our identities are really fused to work. It’s not uncommon at a party if you meet someone, the first question is ‘what do you do?’ It’s not ‘who are you?’

“This is not a ridiculous way to think because of course, this is a fragile economy and we are concerned about our work selves. There’s a sense of professional insecurity, particularly in the precarious work—the gig economy sector where many people don’t even get those two weeks off that full-time workers are promised.” Gig economy refers to the fact that many young people now work on a free-lance basis.

Employee at computer, managers in background.

It is in management’s best interest for workers to take their allotted vacation time, says author.

Weaker labour union movement in Canada

Those Canadians who are employed full time get less vacation than do their counterparts in Europe who average four to six weeks. This may be because the labour union movement is not as strong. Some who study the issue think it may have to do with Canada’s history and the pioneering spirit of the first Europeans who arrived and had to put work above play.

Not good for business, says author

Either way, Onstad thinks it is the interest of businesses to have their employees take vacations because the workers who do, for example those in Germany and Norway, are more productive and stay at their jobs longer. She also says there are health implications. “People who don’t take vacations are more prone to heart disease—both men and women—and also marital strife… There’s something that happens to our relationships if we don’t have time off to connect with one another.

“All of these things add up to an overtaxed exhausted workplace and work force. And that is not something that any employer should be angling for.”

Categories: Society
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


One comment on “Vacation time taken by only one in three Canadians workers
  1. Avatar R says:

    I get 7 weeks paid vacation as a government employee with 25 years seniority. I only use my vacation to burn-off shifts I don’t eant to work (95% of my dayshifts). It’s a good scam. Living in Alberta, who wants to get up at 5:30 am and work in the dark all day? I stay in bed.