Canadian employers are facing double-digit increases in health care costs.

Although Canada has a universal health care system, a somewhat younger population than the United States, and a stronger currency, 2008 increases for packages of health coverage and prescription drug coverage are averaging about 13% to 14%, according to consultants in the Toronto office of Buck Consultants.

Dental care cost increases are ranging from 7% to 11%, the consultants estimate.

The consultants have based their estimates on survey responses from 10 major Canadian group insurers.