Work Life Balance Canada Style

Stanley Park

So I’ve just got back from spending the last two weeks in Canada. I spent much of the time in and around Vancouver on the West Coast, taking in the sights of Whistler, and small coastal towns like White Rock. Life over there is very different, and it got me thinking.

From chatting to people in the relaxed environs of Stanley Park, it was clear that the attitudes to annual leave in Canada are far removed from the UK as you could imagine. In Canada, the legal requirement for annual leave is just 10 days per year. On the face of it, that seems minuscule in comparison to home, but as a result, each day is utilised properly.

Over here, it is not uncommon for people to spend their holiday entitlement on mundane tasks like waiting for the washing machine to be repaired, visiting the doctor, or even just having a ‘duvet day’, curled up in front of the TV with the latest ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ box set on the go. Not so in Canada!

In fact, barely a moment of ‘vacation’ time is wasted this side of the Atlantic. I chatted to a man, who is saving up his holiday all year so that he can take a month off, either side of the New Year. He has a trip around South America on a motorcycle planned, following in footsteps of Che Guevara. Another gentleman that I spoke to was in the middle of a 20k cycle ride, had already played a round of golf, and was intending to hike the Grouse Grind later in the day. It was 11am.

It was this attitude that I found so refreshing. Yes, they didn’t get many days off, but it could be argued that they achieved more in that time than many people in the UK do with twice as many days at their disposal.