As Canadians, we’ve come a long way from the days when we defined “family” as a mother, father, 2.5 kids, and a dog named Spot. While workplaces are making progress towards becoming more inclusive of the diverse relationships that make up today’s families, one demographic continues to be neglected: singles. Conversations about work–life balance typically revolve around employees balancing family responsibilities, such as childcare and eldercare, alongside their careers. Too often, we assume single employees are completely free of familial or other personal obligations, making them the obvious candidates to work the late shift or pick up the slack on weekends.
However, it’s worthwhile for employers to start considering the unique needs of this sizeable group. The latest census data reveals that more and more Canadians are living alone. While just 1.8% of the population was going solo in 1951, nearly 14% of Canadians were living alone in 2016—and that number has been increasing in recent years, according to Statistics Canada.
It’s important to keep in mind that this population includes both those younger employees who may (or may not) choose to cohabitate and have children at some point, as well as older employees who never married or had children, and those who have already raised their children and are now unmarried and living alone. In today’s multigenerational workplaces, you’ll find singles across the spectrum, from Generation Z and millennials to the baby boomers.
Family status and marital status (including those who are single) are prohibited grounds of discrimination in Canada. Yet, even in the absence of explicit discrimination, implicit biases and assumptions about single employees can sabotage engagement efforts, which can lead to increased turnover rates. After all, if an employee doesn’t feel like they’re a good cultural ‘fit’ with the organization, they’re more likely to be planning an exit.
While HRdownloads uses reasonable efforts to maintain this site/blog and its Services in an up-to-date fashion, it does not warrant the completeness, timeliness or accuracy of any information contained on this site/blog or any of its Services, whether in English or French, and may make changes thereto at any time in its sole discretion without notice. All information and Services provided by HRdownloads are provided to members and/or users “as is”, “with all faults,” “as available” and at the sole risk of members and/or users. Our human resources information and recommendations are based on seasoned, best practice field experience and should not be construed as legal advice.