Toronto ranks 14th best city in the world for work-life balance

May 26 2021, 8:38 am

Maintaining a work-life balance isn’t always easy, but according to a new report, Toronto is one of the best cities in the world to do it in.

Mobile access technology company Kisi released its annual study of which cities around the world promote the most holistic work-life balance. It looked a long list of factors including percent of jobs that can be remote, overworking, holiday allowance, parental leave, unemployment, healthcare, gender equality, welfare programs, safety, happiness, and access to wellness and leisure venues.

And making sure the list was relevant to today’s living situations, it also factored in COVID-19 case numbers, COVID-related economic supports, and the severity of lockdowns.

With all things considered, Toronto came in at 14th out of the 50 international cities that Kisi evaluated. And although it didn’t crack the top 10, two other Canadian cities did with Ottawa coming in sixth place and Vancouver coming in at eighth place. Calgary also beat out Toronto, ranking 13th on the list.

With the pandemic affecting how people have lived over the past year, Bernhard Mehl, CEO and co-founder of Kisi, says that it changed how people evaluate work-life balance.

“It’s interesting to see how cultural expectations around some aspects of work-life balance have changed so dramatically,” Mehl said.

“The past year has brought many challenges but also some positive shifts in how we view the division between our work and lives. For example, a lot of people did not have the usual expenses for traveling or shopping while receiving government support, but at the same time this allowed them to spend more time with their immediate family or pursuing long-ignored personal goals.”


Looking an individual factor breakdowns, Toronto, unfortunately, ranked seventh highest in unemployment out of the 50 cities that were evaluated. Calgary, on the other hand, ranked as the ninth most overworked city — only one of two North American cities to do so.

“The data we found on overworking is pretty alarming when considering how large a percentage it is in most locations,” Mehl said. “In Japan, for example, where the overworking rate is at almost a quarter of the population, the mental and health consequences of overworking is so commonplace that there is a specific term — karoshi — for deaths related to it.”

On a positive note, Canada ranked as the sixth best country in the world for COVID-related supports. This took into account factors like government programs to replace income, length on unemployment benefits, consumer confidence, income levels, and household spending levels.

“The pandemic has really highlighted how important it is to have a break from our working routines, not just for our own sakes but also for our overall productivity – something that has been proved by research time and time again,” Mehl said. “We hope that the results of the study can help foster more discussion about the value of time off in places where vacations are less frequent, during these difficult times and also for the future.”

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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