What to do about work

How to get paid while you fight breast cancer

If you need more time off work
  • In some cases, short-term disability won’t be enough for complete recovery. In this case, your doctor will have to fill out another form (from your insurance company or HR department) confirming your inability to work.
  • Return to HR, your insurance carrier or boss and ask about long-term disability. Once again, the time allowed and the amount you’ll receive both depend on your coverage.
  • Once your insurance plan is exhausted, or if you don’t have a long-term disability plan, you can apply to the federal government’s Canada Pension Plan Disability Program. Call 1/800/277-9914 to have a kit mailed to you (you cannot apply online). If you’re approved, you may receive up to $971.26 per month. Your dependent children under 18 can also receive a monthly benefit of $186.71. There is no cut-off period, but you will be reassessed periodically to determine if you can safely return to work.

Once you’ve recovered, you have options regarding your employment.
About 10 per cent of workers are covered by federal labour legislation (including people working in banking, interprovincial transport, broadcasting, etc.). Everyone else is covered by provincial laws, which vary widely. Find out about the labour or employment standards in your province. Many workers are also covered by collective agreements that are often superior to any provincial or federal provisions. If this includes you, speak to your union representative. Finally, employers themselves may provide special consideration to those with serious illnesses, even if the policy is not itemized in the company rules and regulations.

Willow support services has a publication called Coping With Your Financial Concerns When You Have Breast Cancer

Cancer and Careers, Living and Working with Cancer offers tips on situations such as how to handle work demands during illness and telling co-workers you have cancer.

Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto has a PDF guide called Getting Back on Track: Life After Treatment