disability insurance file folder

Less than half of Canadians are protected by disability coverage in their workplace benefits — a significant drop since 2015, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Toronto-based RBC Insurance.

In fact, only 48% of Canadians have disability coverage offered by their workplace compared to 57% in 2015. Among Canadians without disability coverage, 84% have not bought coverage themselves, which leaves them exposed to great financial risk if they were ever unable to work due to a disability.

“With the majority of employed Canadians indicating that they do not have disability insurance through their workplace benefits package, workers need to review what coverage they do not have and take immediate steps to ensure that they are well protected in case something were to happen,” says Maria Winslow, senior director of life and health at RBC Insurance, in a statement.

“Without the proper financial protection in place, Canadians are putting themselves and their families at risk if they are faced with a disability and have to take time off work,” she adds.

Taking time off work is more financially draining than most Canadians can handle. The majority (68%) of working Canadians admit there would be serious financial implications for them and their family if they were to become disabled and unable to work for three months.

Furthermore, when confronted with a disability, 45% of working Canadians say they would have preferred to take time off but could not because of finances and 51% say they were forced to go back to work earlier than they wanted because of their financial situation.

Cost is often a barrier for working Canadians without disability coverage from their employee. One in four (26%) of Canadians say they simply can’t afford it.

“There’s a misconception that disability insurance is expensive, yet it’s much less than you might think — generally costing between one and three percent of your income,” Winslow adds.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Jan. 2 and Jan. 4. A sample of 1,505 employed Canadians ages 18 and up were interviewed on behalf of RBC Insurance.