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Canadians have among fewest vacation days in the world

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The holidays are a little over a month away and no doubt, many Canadians are counting the days to their vacations. Unfortunately, it may be one of the few times they get away from the daily grind of work.

According to QMI, with our number of statutory holidays and how many days companies are required to give off, many Canadians receive just 19 days off a year.

Canada is well behind other countries when it comes to getting a break, such as Brazil, where residents are given 30 vacation days plus 11 public holidays. We’re also trailing European countries like Lithuania, Russia, France and Finland, which have on average 40 vacation days, all more than double our average.

According to studies in Psychology Today, vacations break the chronic stress cycle at work, where employees are more likely to become ill and have an accident.

“You’re sleeping more, you’re relaxing more, you’re giving your blood pressure a chance to come up a little bit from being elevated all the time when you are at work and running around,” said Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

She added even though there may not be proof that vacations lead directly to better health, they do provide mental breaks, stress reduction and important family bonding time.

However, Krauss Whitbourne said until there’s policy change when it comes to vacations, North Americans must continue to adapt.

“It isn’t ever going to be what it is in France or other countries, so then you really want to look at ways to take mini-vacations to make the most out of weekends and to use what you have productively,” she explained.

“It doesn’t seem like there are much higher rates of mental health problems or even health problems in Canada compared to other countries, so it seems like people are coping, they are finding ways to deal with their less vacation time.”

In 2009, Canadian researchers found vacations helped to buffer or ameliorate the job stress among a sample of almost 900 lawyers. One British researcher said benefits are so strong, he recommends families be given financial assistance if they are unable to afford vacations on their own.