Number of Canadians in need of disability leave increasing

By The IJ Staff | May 28 2019 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

The number of Canadians who need time off work due to a disability is on the rise, yet disability coverage continues to decline, found an RBC Insurance survey.

The study found that 50% of working Canadians would have liked to have taken time off work for a disability but felt they couldn't afford it, up 5 points from RBC Insurance’s 2018 survey on disability. Despite the increase, the number of Canadians who have disability coverage either through their workplace benefits or personal insurance that they've purchased declined by 5 points from 55 per cent in 2018. This leaves half of working Canadians without any disability coverage at all, underlines RBC Insurance.

"It's troublesome to see an inverse trend between the number of Canadians who need to take time off for a disability, and those who have the coverage in place – or the finances – to do so," said Maria Winslow, Senior Director, Life & Health, RBC Insurance. "With half of the working population without disability coverage, many Canadians are exposing themselves to financial risk."

Serious financial implications

When faced with the possibility of becoming disabled and unable to work for three months, 67% of working Canadians surveyed agreed there would be serious financial implications for them and their family. However, only 43% have had discussions with their family about how they would handle the financial impact of not being able to work for three months or more.

"Being off of work for a disability can have serious consequences affecting one's financial situation, including having insufficient funds to cover regular living expenses such as your mortgage, bills and even groceries," said Winslow. "It's important that Canadians talk with their family and take action so they are prepared for future financial implications of not being able to work."

Of those surveyed who had taken time off for work for their own disability, 56% said they were forced to go back to work earlier due to financial reasons (up 5 points from 2018), and nearly as many (45 per cent) say they were forced back earlier because they were pressured to by their workplace, up 33% from from last year.

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