Canadians leaving an average of 3 vacation days unused

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31 million total earned vacation days left on table – triple last year’s total

Canadians have not time to take vacatiions. Pic:

TORONTO – Most Canadians would like an additional 11.5 more vacation days per year, according to the latest annual “Vacation Deprivation” survey from But would they take them? On average this year, Canadians received 17.3 vacation days from employers, but will take only 14 of them – leaving three days of unused vacation time on the table. That represents nearly 31 million unused vacation days this year alone, and more than $5.5 billion in wages handed back to employers.

More than a quarter of Canadians (27 per cent) go a year or more without taking a vacation, with an additional 36 per cent going six months to a year without a break. But when they do get away, they feel a strong need to share their holiday fun via social media, responses show.

Almost half (45 per cent) of Canadian travellers say they share pictures of their vacation adventures on social media because it “validates their experience.” A similar number (43 per cent) say it’s very important that they capture the perfect vacation photo for their social media posts.

In fact, one in five respondents said they would go so far as to “risk their personal safety” to get that perfect ‘look how much fun I’m having’ shot for Facebook or Instagram.

“This shows just how powerful the shared experience of social media has become for travellers,” said Lauren Reimer, Managing Director and General Manager, Expedia Canada. “Whether they’re zip-lining, powder skiing or relaxing on a pristine beach, Canadians feel a need to share the good times they are having on vacation with their friends back home.”

More than one-third (36 per cent) of travellers say they post to social media while on vacation, up from 28 per cent in 2015.


For over a decade, has examined Canadian travellers about their vacation preferences and experiences through its annual Vacation Deprivation survey. One of the key touchpoints is the gap between number of vacation days Canadians receive and how many they actually anticipate using. Over the years, the survey has found Canadians are not using up all the vacation time they have earned from their employers and this year is no exception.

  • This year, over half (55 per cent) of respondents consider themselves “vacation deprived,” meaning they feel they either don’t get enough time off or are not taking some or all of their vacation days;
  • A strong majority (62 per cent) feel they deserve more vacation days than they get;
  • Sixty-eight per cent consider vacation travel a necessity, not a luxury.
  • Quebecers report taking more vacation days (16 days) than those elsewhere in Canada (14 days inAtlantic Canada, 13 days for Ontario and BC residents, 14 days for the Prairies).
  • Ten per cent said they had not yet taken any vacation days this year (the survey was conducted in late August).
  • One in five (21 per cent) said they can’t afford to take all the vacation days they are entitled to;
  • Seventeen per cent say it’s because their work schedule doesn’t permit it.
  • When asked what they would do with just one holiday a year, Canadians say they prefer beach vacations with lots of relaxation time.

Beverly Beuermann-King is a Canadian work-life balance expert and believes taking time off from work is an important part of maintaining good overall health.

“Vacation time can be considered a major stress reliever with a range of benefits for both our physical and mental well-being including lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety,” Beuermann-King says.  “So it’s no surprise Canadians consider beach destinations a top choice to spend their vacation time because an all-inclusive beach destination can help you more fully relax your mind and body – from the relaxing environment the ocean provides, to the range of services many resorts offer to ensure you’re making the most of your holiday.”


Millennials have sometimes been perceived as the “entitled” generation, which may cause some to assume they max out every allotted day. However, the survey found younger Canadians (age 18-34) say they rarely take all of their vacation days because they are too busy at work. They also feel guiltier about taking vacation days and they are more likely to check their work email and voicemail while on vacation, compared to older Canadians.

That said, Millennials are more likely to consider themselves “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) travellers, so they’re likely making the most of each vacation, and consider unique locations that will produce stunning and shareable photos for social media when making travel decisions.


We don’t leave home without our smartphones. The survey found 72 per cent of Canadians take their smartphones with them on vacation, mainly to check personal email, to call or text friends and family, and to check in on social media.

  • More than one-third (36 per cent) of Canadian travellers said they use their smartphones to post on social media while vacationing, up significantly from 28 per cent last year.
  • Almost two-thirds of younger Canadians (64 per cent ages 18 to 34) say they’re likely to visit specific destinations that they’ve learned about through social media posts by other travellers.
  • Canadians look to get lucky, with one in five (19 per cent) saying they use dating apps like Tinder to make connections while on vacation.

The survey was conducted on behalf of by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm, among 1,006 Canadian adults aged 18 and older who are employed or self-employed. Surveys were conducted between August 22 and August 31, 2016. Results are weighted to ensure the sample is representative in terms of age, gender and region. The survey is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ABOUT EXPEDIA.CA is the nation’s leading full-service online travel provider. To help Canadians plan and purchase travel, offers the best combination of scheduled and charter flights, car and hotel reservations, vacation packages, destination activities, cruises, and travel insurance. Expedia customers are supported by customer support agents available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a toll-free number and email response. is owned and operated by Expedia, Inc. –  CNW

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