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Long Term Disability

Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance protects your professional income with when you stop working due to a serious illness or injury. The information provided below applies to the Long-Term Disability Plan that is insured by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada on behalf of McMaster University. The information below does not apply to members of Clinical Faculty who participate in the disability insurance plan that is underwritten by RBC Insurance.SunLife Logo

Information Box Group

Long Term Disability Frequently Asked Questions

Update June 22, 2020

McMaster University’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan is an income protection benefit plan for eligible employees who become totally disabled as a result of non-work-related illnesses or injuries.  McMaster’s LTD plan provides a benefit to eligible members of Faculty, Librarians, Unifor, The Management Group (TMG) and Others(including unranked faculty and employees of affiliate employers), who become totally disabled while covered by the Plan. The LTD plan is 100% employee-paid and participation in the LTD plan is mandatory and is a condition of employment for eligible employees. The threshold for entitlement to LTD benefits is based on total disability. Sun Life, as the LTD provider, reviews medical documentation and determines the level of disability and entitlement to benefits. The goal of the LTD program is to incorporate treatment programs geared toward return to work, as appropriate, and return employees back to work as soon as possible.

Effective July 1, 2016, a new provision was introduced resulting in premium rates that are experience-based by employee group – meaning that rates are set for participating employee groups based on the volume and duration of claims incurred by members of that group. This change resulted in each participating employee group paying a different premium rate. The LTD Plan is currently refund-accounted. Effective July 1, 2020, the University is moving to a fully-insured arrangement with Sun Life for the LTD Plan which means that any future deficits or surpluses that may result in a given year will no longer be the responsibility of the employee groups.

Sun Life conducts a renewal analysis to determine any required adjustments to premium rates. LTD rates are renewed each year and are adjusted for each employee group based on the number and duration of claims incurred during the benefit year. When the number of people using the LTD benefit increases, and the length of their time off work increases, the overall rate increases for the affected employee group.

The next premium rate renewal will take effect July 1, 2021.  Plan experience and rates continue to be closely monitored and are discussed with the respective representatives of each participating employee group.  Any change in rates will be communicated to employees in the participating employee groups prior to the new rates taking effect in July.

The University has a variety of programs designed to lessen the duration of absences due to illness or injury. This includes management of medical leaves during the Salary Continuance entitlement period, supportive return to work initiatives, and providing workplace accommodations to assist employees with return to work. McMaster also provides accommodation to employees to enable employees to stay at work.

We are fortunate to have a wide variety of Workplace Wellness Programs at McMaster. Employees of McMaster have access to the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) with Homewood Health.

All of these programs and policies are aimed at providing support to employees and reducing the number and duration of employee absences.

Long-Term Disability coverage will end the earlier of:

  • June 30th following the day you reach age 65.
  • the day you retire.
  • the last day of the month in which you die.

Members of the pension plan who are on LTD and are approaching the end of LTD coverage should notify Human Resources Services to submit their intent to retire to ensure a smooth transition between LTD payments and their pension payments.


Additional information about the LTD Plan can be found in the Sun Life Benefit Booklet.

Updated June 22, 2020

This webpage is not intended to have legal effect. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency, the official Plan text will govern.