Change of definition

I have been looking through the forum and see many posts about the dreaded 2 yr change of definition from own job to any job but can’t find anything about returning to your job after 2 yrs.
Just a quick background i have been off work since Aug 2016 due to profound hearing loss and vertigo. I have been receiving Ltd from my employer insurance with no issues. I have had 3 surgeries and have functional hearing from a bone anchored hearing aid but the vertigo continues to be a major issue. I am currently waiting for another surgery close off my remaining ear in hopes that this will cure the vertigo.
My question is… If i am awaiting surgery past my 2 yr mark what happens to my current job? I am hoping to return to my current job but am worried my employer wont be holding it after the 2 yr mark. What is the employer obligation once insurannce changes the definition? Thanks any insight would be appreciated.

It is important to understand that your employer and the insurance company have very different obligations to you.

The insurance company’s obligations to you stem from the insurance policy itself, including the language around the 2 year change of definition fo disability.

On the other hand, your employer’s obligations to you come from your employment contract, provincial employment standards acts, human rights laws, the common law, and in some cases collective agreements (if you are in a union). The insurance policy (and the two year definition) have no bearing on your employer’s obligations.

Under human rights laws an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are dealing with disability or illness. A widely recognized “reasonable accommodation” is to allow an employee to take an extended sick leave when needed. The employer has a duty to extend the sick leave until it becomes apparent that the employee will never be able to return to work, even with further workplace accommodations as needed.

If there is evidence that the medical leave could end at some point (like waiting on a surgery), then the employer should continue the reasonable accommodation of allowing an extended sick leave. The decision to do this has nothing to do with wording in the insurance policy. It depends on the medial prognosis and any upcoming treatment, etc.

To learn more read our page on: Employment Rights and Disability Benefits

David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

The response posted above is based on the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with a lawyer, fully explain your situation, and allow the lawyer enough time to research the applicable law and facts required to give an adequate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full one-on-one discussion with a lawyer should be done before taking any any action. The information posted on this forum is available to the viewing public and is not intended to create a lawyer client relationship with any person. If you want one-on-one advice, please click here to request a free consultation or call toll free 1-877-282-5188 to speak with a member with our disability claim support team.


Awesome thanks so much David. I was getting a little concerned because my employer has been in contact with me and seems to be getting frustrated with me being off so long. I have yet to hear anything from the insurance company about yet another surgery but will sit tight and see what happens. Again thanks for the quick reply

Great question and information, thanks for posting this! :slight_smile: I hope your surgery goes well and provides you relief - vertigo is such an awful thing to deal with!

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