Your client might be challenged to find ways to fund disability insurance.

An RBC Insurance survey found that half of working Canadians (50%) would have liked to take time off for a disability but felt they couldn’t afford to do so. That figure is up five points from a year ago, the survey said.

Part of the problem is that disability coverage has declined. The survey found that half of Canadians have no such coverage, either through workplace benefits or personal insurance—a decline of five points compared to 2018 when 55% had coverage.

“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 of life and health at RBC Insurance. “With half of the working population without disability coverage, many Canadians are exposing themselves to financial risk.”

Most survey respondents were aware of that risk: 67% said serious financial implications would result if a disability impeded their ability to work for three months. Among those who took time off for their own disability, 56% said they were forced to return to work early due to financial reasons, an increase of five points from 2018.

Not surprisingly, 91% said proper financial support was critical when recovering from a disability.

Advisors who address disability with clients should also consider that many families aren’t discussing the issue. Less than half of survey respondents (43%) said they’ve discussed with their families how to handle the financial impact of not being able to work for an extended period.

About the survey: Between April 9 and 11, Ipsos conducted a survey of 1,501 employed Canadians aged 18 and over for RBC Insurance. Weighting was used to ensure the survey sample reflected census data.