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Survey snippet 5: Operator benefits decline

September 8, 2020  By  Ellen Cools

Photo: Annex Business Media

Despite operator rates increasing in 2020, according to the results of CFI’s 2020 Contractor Survey, the number of operations that offer benefits has declined compared to two years ago.

Results from this year’s survey found that 61 per cent of companies offer some benefits to employees, with just under half (49 per cent) offering medical and dental insurance. Thirty per cent offer life insurance; 17 per cent provide paid vacation days beyond the legal minimum; 13 per cent match pension plans; 11 per cent provide paid sick/personal days; three per cent offer profit sharing; and five per cent offer benefits.

In contrast, our 2018 Contractor Survey found that 66 per cent of contractors offered benefits to employees, and the majority (61 per cent) offered medical and dental insurance. Although there is a slight increase in the number of companies offering paid vacation days beyond the legal minimum and paid sick/personal days, on average fewer companies are offering benefits in general. See how the numbers compare in the chart below.

Percentage of respondents who offer these benefits.

Operator benefits become less common as one moves West to East. Just like in 2018, operator benefits are most common in B.C., with 89 per cent of companies in the B.C. Interior offering some form of benefits, followed by 75 per cent in the B.C. Coast. These benefits are in addition to having some of the highest wages in the country for machine operators and drivers.


The majority of companies in Alberta also provide employee benefits (64 per cent). That province also has the highest number of companies offering profit sharing (18 per cent).

Unlike in 2018, when a strong majority of contractors in Ontario also offered benefits (83 per cent), less than half (44 per cent) provide benefits in 2020.

Just 43 per cent of companies in Quebec report providing employee benefits, down slightly from 45 per cent in 2018. Those that do are most likely to provide medical and dental insurance (23 per cent).

Bucking the trend for the rest of the country, more companies in Atlantic Canada reported providing employee benefits in 2020 (46.5 per cent) compared to in 2018 (37 per cent).

Percentage of contractors who offer some form of benefits to staff.

Missed last week’s survey snippet? Find a collection of reports published to date here. Look for more news from the CFI 2020 Contractor Survey in our eNews over the coming weeks, with a final digital report in December and a summary in the November/December print issue. Be sure to subscribe to our free eNews to get all the latest industry news.

This survey was conducted in April and May 2020 by independent research firm Bramm & Associates, generating 271 replies to a detailed list of questions. Respondents were distributed according to the geographic breakdown of the forest industry, with 44 per cent of respondents in Western Canada, 26 per cent in Quebec and the rest found in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and central Canada. Within B.C., responses were split between the B.C. Coast and Interior. Many thanks to our sponsors for making this research possible – Hultdins, Tigercat and John Deere.

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