Nearly half (48%) of Canadian employees off work due to disability said they are not financially prepared, according to new research.

The 2015 RBC Insurance disability survey found that 78% of Canadians said finances were tight when they were off work due to a disability, and 80% said they were upset about not being able to work.

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“Being off work with a disability can take a heavy toll on individuals and families,” said Mark Hardy, director of living benefits at RBC Insurance. “Not only are you coping with your disability and trying to get better, but the financial and emotional stress affects everyone in the family.

“Canadians want to work and live healthy, productive lives, but with one-in-three experiencing a period of disability lasting longer than 90 days during their working lives, Canadians need to take steps to ensure they’re prepared and protected.”

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About a third (29%) of respondents said they had to dip into savings to pay for expenses, while 17% had to take on more debt, 17% borrowed money from family and friends, and 9% cashed in their RRSPs.

Among those respondents who did not have any insurance coverage, 60% indicated that they were in “rough shape” while off work and described the period as “financially terrible.”

“When faced with a disability, many people are shocked to find that their employee benefit plans have limited coverage,” said Hardy. “Having a solid picture of your financial situation and knowing what disability coverage you have are essential first steps, so you don’t have to deal with a big drop in income at the same time that you’re dealing with a disability.”

Read: Workers don’t consider the financial impacts of becoming disabled

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