Among Canadians who have missed work due to disability, 30 per cent cited mental illness, according to a new survey by RBC Insurance.

The survey, which questioned about 1,500 Canadians, found that while 65 per cent of respondents, respectively, view physical accidents and multiple sclerosis as disabilities, about half (47 per cent) cited depression as a disability, followed by anxiety (36 per cent).

Read: Sounding Board: The keys to managing rising mental-health LTD claims

“There is a misconception that disabilities tend to be catastrophic in nature, caused by one-time, traumatic events,” said Maria Winslow, senior director of life and health at RBC Insurance, in a press release. “What most Canadians don’t realize is that mental illness causes the majority of disabilities. In fact, almost one-third of group disability claims at RBC Insurance are related to mental health, and that number is higher if you count physical disabilities that lead to mental-health concerns.”

The majority (82 per cent) of Canadians who have disability coverage through the workplace said they have good coverage. However, just a third (33 per cent) of all respondents said they know their disability coverage very well, while 52 per cent said they know how their benefits plan defines a disability and 23 per cent said they only know they have some sort of disability coverage.

“When faced with a mental illness, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you have the proper coverage in place,” said Winslow. “It’s important that Canadians not only ensure they have disability coverage, but that they understand the details of their policy. Find out how your plan defines a disability and what is and isn’t covered. For example, while some policies cover mental illness, others may not.”

Read: Improving employee mental health among top HR priorities for 2019

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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