LTD through bluecross being threatened

I have been on Long Term Disability for 5 years. I got sick while working for the ‘City’ (in Alberta) as a laborer and truck driver when I was repetedly exposed to tar and asphalt (petrochemicals) which had a horrible impact on my health.
I was diagnosed by a specialist with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome and put on LTD through our health insurance company which was Great West Life at the time. They just switched insurance companies to Blue Cross two months ago and now they are trying to force me back to work in an office where there would still be chemicals and scents. I am extremely sensitive/allergic to petrochemicals now which are in over 6000 products and items. My health has gotten increasingly worse in the last several years and I struggle with day to day living. I’m usually exhausted and not able to function well outside my own home where I can control things. I have detailed things for Disability Management but they are determined to force me into this job which I have no experience in and meet none of the qualifications, and in a setting that would certainly make me sick.
My union has informed me they can likley let me go if I refuse the job. I absolutely know I am too sick to do this job.
I don’t know what to do. They have bullied me in the past and although I have been very clear about my limitations they are still trying to make me do this job i will not be able to do. I have suggested that I have a reassessment and am waiting to hear back from them.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you for reading.

I’m no lawyer, but this I what I would do:

  1. I would ask for a detailed job description for the job they want me to take on. Ask them also to provide exactly what the employer’s detailed plan is to accomodate my well documented medical limitations. I’d be very blunt with them and tell them this detail is required by your treating physician to assess if taking on this job is medically reasonable. I’d remind them that my return to work is a medical decision.

  2. After getting that information from them (assuming it’s not satisfactory) I’d get a letter from my treating physician stating what my medical condition is, and exactly why it prevents me from doing this job they want to me take on. The letter should be specific (likely a few paragraphs long). I would also have my treating physician add in how long that I have been under their care to add some credibility to the letter. If your treating physician believes this proposed job will further harm your health, definitely have them state that in the letter.

  3. Then I would provide that letter to my union and disability claims manager at GWL (as the new Blue Cross LTD contract has nothing to do with my 5 year LTD claim with GWL). Add a cover letter stating that taking this job is not medically reasonable as it goes against the advice of the medical experts who have been treating me for over 5 years . I would also add in the cover letter that this job doesnt meet meet contractual language of “Any Occupation” that I’m suited for my by training or experience. I would double check the language of my LTD policy before adding that last part.

  4. Make sure all verbal communication with my union, employer, and LTD insurer has follow-up summary email that I send to them with my account of the conversation. If they say anything outrageous verbally during the conversation, definitely put it in the summary email. You’ll want this as documentation in the event they do terminate or employment or LTD benefits and you hire a lawyer to start a legal claim.

Anyways, off the top of my head, that’s what I’d do.



Thank you so much for this advice!

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Hi mikkabees. I will just add one thing. The bold part above, leave that out. It makes it sound like part of the reason you aren’t taking the job is because you don’t have experience or meet the qualifications. That doesn’t matter, since you’re disabled and unable to do the job for medical reasons. Mentioning those things might make the employer think that is playing a role in you not working and it isn’t. You know what I am saying? Hope that makes sense. Just stick to your disability. Your union’s opinion doesn’t matter, just your doctor. The trick here is going to be to convey to your LTD carrier that you are permanently disabled DUE to the exposure you had on the job and you suffer with it every day now. It made you hyper sensitive to thousands of things. You can’t be in any uncontrolled environment. Even someone using tide laundry detergent on their clothing, or a janitor cleaning surfaces with bleach in the office or anything could completely hurt you. That’s what you need to convey to them. Then they stand no chance.


Have you applied for CPP-D?
I would mention that to the insurer.

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Do you make a claim to some workplace injury board?
WSIB in Ontario.

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I have not, but I am looking into it. Thank you for replying!

No, nothing went through workers comp since it was/is ongoing.

Good advice, thank you!