There are several types of disability benefits providers in Canada. There are government programs, non-profit disability plans and disability insurance companies.
Below is a list of the most common disability benefits providers in Canada. Click on the links below to learn more about your disability benefits provider.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Program
The Canada Pension Plan is a federal program that provides pension and disability benefits to people who have contributed to the Plan. It is mandatory for all employees to contribute to the plan through payroll deductions.
To be eligible for CPP disability benefits, you must be a recent contributor to the Plan at the time you become disabled from work. Recent contributor means you have contributed 4 of the past 6 years.
Disability Insurance Companies
Life insurance companies are for-profit business that sell disability benefits insurance policies to groups and individuals in Canada. You can buy an “individual” disability insurance policy from an insurance company or you can be covered under a “group” disability insurance policy if you are a member of a covered group.
For example, the most common situation is for a business to by a group disability insurance policy to cover its employees (the group members).
Individual disability insurance policies are less common and are usually sold to self-employed professionals or business owners.
- The Great-West Life Assurance Company
- Manulife / Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
- Blue Cross Life Insurance Company
- Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
- RBC Life Insurance Company
- Desjardins Financial Security Assurance Company
- Industrial Alliance
- The Co-operators Life Insurance Company
- Fenchurch General Insurance Company
Self-Funded & Non-Profit Long-term Disability Benefits Plans
In contrast to disability insurance policies sold by for-profit insurance companies, some organizations have created no-profit disability plans to provide disability benefits to members of a specific group. On the outside these non-profit disability plans look like group insurance plans, but they are governed by a “plan text” document and a board of directors, rather than an insurance company.
Non-profit Disability Plans often hire insurance companies to be the third party administrators of the Plan. This is a source of confusion for many people because from the outside it appears to be a group insurance policy.
Don’t let the “non-profit” designation fool you. Non-profit disability plans are administered as aggressively as for-profit insurance policies (sometimes more so, in our experience). It is also common for non-profit disability plans to have more onerous conditions and to take away more of your legal rights.