Could Physical Activity Credits Change Our Happiness? 

Could Physical Activity Credits Change Our Happiness?
By Erin Phelan

By Erin Phelan

Fitness Industry Council of Canada

How happy are Canadians in the workplace?


And, can increasing physical activity – through provincial physical activity tax credits, change our happiness levels?


In a story that made headlines last week, Manitoba ranked last in all Canadian provinces and territories for workplace happiness. The survey, from payroll company ADP, found that Manitoba lagged behind other provinces in terms of workplace satisfaction, feeling supported and work-life balance. “This didn’t surprise me at all,” says Stephanie Jeffrey, FIC Manitoba Provincial lead and the Executive Director of the Manitoba Fitness Council.


Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), the national not-for-profit association supporting the Canadians fitness industry, has been lobbying provincial governments for physical activity tax credits. “We did a postcard campaign with over 2000 gym members asking the government to consider tax credits,” says Jeffrey. “At least 25 percent wrote on their cards this would improve their mood and their overall happiness. There has been a huge shift from before the pandemic, where people in the gym focused more on their physical health and now understand it is a package deal. They are looking for help to get started.”


In a 2021 survey, FIC found that 59% of Canadians would be incentivized to join a gym if there were a tax credit; a recent national survey showed that while gyms are experiencing growth, 58.4 percent have fewer members now than they did before the pandemic.


“The Physical Activity Credit would have a large impact on our industry in Manitoba. It would be an incentive for families, and would help take some of the burden off the choices that come when money is tight,” says Jeffrey.


According to a 2023 report from Mercer, more than half of Canadian employers are failing to meet the health and wellness needs of their employees. Canadian companies lose an estimated $16.6 billion annually in productivity due to absenteeism as a result of mental health issues. This trend is expected to increase. One out of ten Canadians say their physical health is in decline, and 15% of Canadians have a health condition that threatens their ability to work. In addition, workers lost on average 48.1 days due to a health-related absence and presenteeism – up from 41.2 days in 2021.


FIC continues to lobby for physical activity tax credits in several provinces to not only incentivize inactive Canadians, but to help ease the burden of healthcare. In a landmark report released at IHRSA in 2021, accounting firm Deloitte found that an investment of $2000 in helping an inactive Canadian become active results in a payback period of less than one year, on average, in terms of benefit to the overall economy and society. This cost was calculated on  reduced rates of absenteeism, less sick days, less hospital visits, and improved productivity.


Jeffrey believes physical activity could have a catalyst effect on happiness across the province. “We know that when people start being active, they feel better, sleep better and make healthier choices all around,” says Jeffrey. “A healthier you is a happier you!”


To join the FIC and to add your voice to the campaign, join the FIC today.

If you are looking to grow your marketing and attract more members to your gyms, join the FIC on Friday September 15th for a special presentation by Sal and Sarah Pellegrino. To register reach out to

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.

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