Long-term disability

The long-term disability (LTD) benefit is intended to provide income continuance when sick leave expires for all eligible employees. LTD is adjudicated independently by our insurer, Sun Life Financial based on the medical evidence available at the time of adjudication. Please refer to the annual benefits maximum and premiums pages for coverage and cost details.

Your Coverage

LTD benefits may be payable when sick leave expires. Employees who have exhausted their sick leave benefits and are awaiting Sun Life Financials decision on their LTD application, may be eligible to receive EI sickness benefits. If LTD benefits become payable retroactively, some or all of the EI sickness benefits may need to be repaid.

LTD benefits are calculated on the employee's last salary upon which LTD premium was paid. If the insurance carrier approves the LTD application, the employee receives 85% of a prescribed pre-LTD net salary to a maximum insured salary of $192,454 (effective May 1, 2024). Each May 1st the maximum insured salary is subject to an indexing decision by the Pension and Benefits Committee.

Employees who are eligible for the LTD benefit will be required to apply for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefit. Under the terms of the contract that the University has with Sun Life Financial, the LTD benefit is offset by the initial taxable CPP disability benefit. 

Should a CPP Disability Benefits be awarded retro actively to a period during which an employee received Waterloo sick leave benefits, the employee will be required to repay the University the amount of CPP payable during that period.

Definition of Disability

An employee is considered totally disabled if with an objective medical opinion they are unable to perform the regular duties of their own occupation during the qualifying period and the subsequent two years of total disability.

After two years of LTD, the definition changes and the benefit is paid only if the employee is considered totally disabled and is unable to work at any occupation for which they are qualified, or may reasonably become qualified by training, education or experience.

The University does not have partial disability insurance. If at the end of two years the employee is no longer eligible for LTD but unable to return to full-time work, the employee would be required to consider options, which may include part time or reduced load or other suitable work on or off campus.

Periodically, while on LTD, medical evidence satisfactory to the insurance carrier must be provided as requested.


If the employee returns to work after receiving the LTD benefit and is again totally disabled by the same illness or injury within the six months following the return, they may be eligible to begin receiving the LTD benefit immediately. Employees totally disabled by the same illness or injury after a six-month period at work will be required to fulfill a new qualifying period.

Impact on Pension

While you are receiving LTD benefit payments, you will continue to accrue credited service under the pension plan but you will not be required to make contributions. Your salary in effect when you commenced receiving LTD (pre-disability salary) may receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) pending annual review and approval by the Pension & Benefits Committee.

Should your disability continue to age 65, your LTD benefit will cease and your pension will commence.
The calculation of your pension will be based on your final average earnings (including any COLA adjustments) and your credited service, including the years and months when you were receiving LTD benefits.

When Coverage Ends

Coverage for the benefit ceases 6 months prior to the attainment of age 65. Employees who qualify for LTD continue to collect benefit payments as long as they meet the definition of disability and to a maximum age of 65.

If your LTD terminates and your position at Waterloo is no longer available the return to work protocol will apply.