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Risk: Health and Happiness

Find out how health and happiness affect your business risk profile and how Waterloo compares to other North American communities.

Over our “Understand the Risk” series, we’ve looked into risk areas that should be considered when planning an office relocation or choosing a location for an expansion.

We’ve looked at many of the operational risks to your business, from potential interruptions to the supply chain to natural hazards that can impact your business.

But, if COVID-19 has highlighted anything, it’s the importance of health, happiness and people. If you aren’t in a position to offer a healthy and safe environment, you’ll have a tough time retaining employees.

In this last part of our series, we’re examining the health and safety risks that can potentially impact your most valuable asset — your people.

This article is part of our “Understand the Risk” series, which looks at business risk with comparative data. Articles in this series cover natural hazardsinfrastructureeconomic competitivenessstability and freedomtalent and workforce and health.


Canada’s healthcare system is renowned worldwide for both its innovation and ease-of-access. Each provincial government manages its healthcare and health insurance system that provides equal access to everyone, regardless of their financial or job situation. Healthcare is a part of the solid social safety net that supports Canada’s innovation economy.

Canadians can sometimes be smug when it comes to debates about healthcare, especially when comparing access to healthcare in the U.S. Some of that smugness is earned. Our healthcare system is robust, efficient and easy to access when compared to our neighbours to the south. People rarely go bankrupt because they need a simple procedure or want to seek preventative medicine. Still, there are sometimes long waits for non-critical procedures and tests that many in the U.S. can have done faster — but at a much higher cost.

Apart from ensuring that their employees will have medical coverage, Canada’s system can also save American companies up to 64% on their employee healthcare costs as supplying full health insurance benefits simply isn’t required.


Canada has a reputation for safety and, for the most part, it’s a reputation that’s well earned. Crimes involving guns are rare across much of Canada as firearm ownership is heavily restricted. There are pockets of drug-related crime in major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, but Canadian police — from local law enforcement to our famous Mounties — have a reputation for keeping law and order.

Looking toward the United States, Waterloo’s crime rate is significantly lower than New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and others, with our homicide rate and terrorism incidence much lower and the reliability of our police services scoring much higher on third-party indices.


While every country wishes we were as happy as perennial #1-ranked Denmark, Canada is no slouch for creating economic and social programs to help its citizens find a little happiness. Canada ranked #9 in the 2021 U.N. World Happiness Report, while our North American neighbours ranked #19 (U.S.) and #23 (Mexico).

WEDC-RISK Health and Safety

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