Contrary to the much publicized Fraser Institute press releases accusing the public sector of abusing sick leave allowances, earlier today Statistics Canada issued a report suggesting there is in fact very little real difference in absenteeism rates between the public and private sectors.
Statistics Canada says that when you factor in age and gender differences as well as the higher rate of unionization in the public sector, the actual adjusted rate of difference amounts to less than a day – in fact 0.8 of a day.
“The difference can be attributed to several factors, as the public sector workforce tends to be older, more female and more unionized,” StatsCan states in today’s The Daily.
The rate of unionization is obviously important given non-union workplaces can make it much more difficult for a worker to take legitimate leave for illness or family care. Some have no provision for illness. If you are sick, you don’t get paid. That also increases the opportunity for illness to be spread about a workplace.
Statistics Canada maintains a snapshot of how Canadians die. The chart not only gives an indication of how nearly a quarter million of us cast off this mortal coil each year, but suggests where we are making progress and where the numbers are climbing dramatically.
You may have noticed that the Heart and Stroke Foundation no longer suggests cardiovascular disease is Canada’s number one killer. Canadians who die of major cardiovascular disease has dropped from 71,338 in 2005 to 68,342 in 2009, the most recent year for which Statscan has complete data. That would put it slightly behind those who die of “malignant neoplasms,” better known as cancer.
In 2009 71,125 deaths were recorded from cancer, a rise of nearly 4,000 since 2005. To put that in perspective, nearly one in three deaths in Canada are cancer-related. That does not necessarily mean we are doing that bad – Canada is just slightly better than the OECD average (age standardized) for all cancers at 205 per 100,000 population (OECD is 208). What is the leading country for fewest cancer deaths? Mexico, at 101 per 100,000, followed by Israel (162), Sweden (165) and Finland (165). Our nearest neighbour, the United States, has 185.