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More Canadian firms are offering increased fertility coverage to attract staff

The labour market in Canada is more competitive than ever. As a result, a record number of Canadian firms are now offering coverage for fertility treatments, adoption, and surrogacy, hoping to attract the best talent in their field. But, will this attract and retain the most desirable candidates?

Carolynn Dubé, executive director of Fertility Matters Canada, thinks so. She is thrilled with these new programs. “There’s been a huge shift in the past 12 months,” she said. “I’m applauding them very loudly.”

Federal government statistics show that roughly one in six Canadian couples experience fertility issues. Shockingly, that number has doubled since the 1980s

Canadian fertility clinics are experiencing a boom in demand, partially due to more flexible working hours. However, most employers do not offer any fertility in their benefits packages.For those that do, the vast majority (95%) don’t cover any fertility drugs. A 2019 survey by

Fertility Matters and Conceivable Dreams showed that only 5% offer coverage for medications, which are often extremely expensive

Most of the packages surveyed enforced lifetime maximums between $2,400 to $18,000, and 20% also had an annual maximum of less than $2,000. Of course, $2,000 is a small percentage of the average cost of fertility treatments.

The lack of coverage has prompted big employers, such as Scotiabank, to ramp up their fertility benefits. Scotiabank’s director of global benefits, Ayman Alvi, says it’s just “good business” to help employees deal with the emotional toll of infertility. The bank is also looking for new ways to improve their mental health benefits, a crucial part of dealing with infertility.

On April 1, Scotiabank began allowing $10,000 each for fertility treatments, adoption costs, and surrogacy support. The bank plans to work closely with employees to determine how to allot different funds, like fertility, adoption, and surrogacy can incur a wide array of costs.

TD Bank is also boosting its benefits, adding up to $20,000 for donors, surrogacy, and fertility treatments. However, start-ups are going the extra mile when it comes to fertility treatments, putting the banks to shame. For instance, Snap Inc., a social media company with 160 employees, is now offering its staff up to $65,000 for fertility and adoption costs and $130,000 for surrogacy-related expenses.

Similarly, Cisco Canada offers coverage for up to $50,000 forIVF, freezing eggs, and donor services, and Pinterest includes two cycles of IVF and egg freezing in their package

FertilityIQ, a US firm, conducted research showing that employees with benefits packages that include IVF treatments are much likelier to stay at their jobs for a long time. In the current labour market, this could be exactly what employers need to retain their competitive edge.

What do you think about increased fertility benefits? Does your job offer any coverage? If you are an employer, are you now thinking about implementing this for your employees? Let us know what you think by commenting below or emailing us at [email protected]

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