People with episodic disabilities sometimes experience periods of illness during which they’re unable to work, making income security one of their key concerns.
If you leave work and do not have insurance from your employer, you might be eligible for one of several publicly funded programs, such as federal and provincial/territorial income support programs.
If you are considering leaving work and have insurance from your employer, find out if you qualify for short- or long-term disability coverage.
You might be able to access a number of income support programs at the same time, such as provincial/territorial assistance and Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD), or private insurance and CPPD — though this might affect the amounts that you receive. In addition, you’ll be required to deal with each income support provider to apply for and maintain your benefits — which means additional time and paperwork.
Q - If I leave work, is my employer obligated to keep my job open for me to return to when I’m well enough?
A - Sometimes an employee requires a temporary leave of absence to accommodate a disability-related illness or family emergencies. Generally, an employer is expected to accommodate such requests and to hold the position until the employee returns.
However, there are costs to filling a position temporarily. The employer may be unable to attract or retain qualified replacements because the position is not permanent. The employee’s team may not be able to work effectively. At some point, therefore, the absence may create an undue hardship for the employer. Paying the employee’s benefits over an extended leave of absence may itself be an undue hardship.
See the Canadian Human Rights Commission for additional information.
If your organization is unionized, your union representative can be a resource to you throughout this process.