During the week of June 18, 2018, HALCO, the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) and ARCH Disability Law Centre intervened as a coalition in an application before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) about the deduction of Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits from long-term disability benefits. We argued that this deduction is discriminatory.
Long-term disability (LTD) benefits may be part of an employer’s benefit/insurance plan or workers may pay for their own LTD insurance. LTD benefits provide vital income for workers who are unable to work due to disability. LTD benefits are usually less than the amount that the worker earned while working. With less income, the worker may struggle to pay their usual expenses and find it difficult to pay increased expenses they may have as a result of their disability.
Workers and employers contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) based on the worker’s employment and income. CPP benefits include CPP Disability (CPP-D) benefits for workers who are unable to work due to a severe and prolonged disability. Workers with less severe or prolonged disabilities may be eligible for LTD but not eligible for CPP-D.
LTD benefit policies often allow LTD providers to deduct a worker’s CPP-D benefits from the worker’s LTD benefits. As a result, the CPP-D benefits do not result in any increase in the total amount of benefits that the worker receives. Here is an example: a worker is eligible for $1,200 LTD and $800 from CPP-D will only receive a total of $1,200 in benefits, so the result is that the LTD provider is actually paying less to workers who have the most severe disabilities (workers who qualify for CPP-D).
The HRTO application was brought by an employee of Ford Motor Company who qualifies for both CPP-D and for LTD through Ford’s benefits plan. The Ford plan deducts the worker’s CPP-D benefits from his LTD benefits. The worker is challenging this practice on the grounds that it discriminates against him on the basis of disability.
The decision in this case could have a significant impact on the income of workers with disabilities who receive LTD and CPP-D benefits. The Vice-Chair is expected to release her ruling in the fall.
You can read our coalition submissions on our website: www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CPP-D-and-LTD-subs2018June.pdf.
If you are living with HIV in Ontario and have questions about this or any other legal issue, please contact us for free legal advice.