Canadians Are Reluctant to Name Mental Health A Disability

Yet, Three in Ten Who Have Taken Time Off For A Disability Did So Because of Mental Health

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, September 28, 2018 — According to a new Ipsos poll conducted for RBC Insurance, fewer Canadians classify various mental illnesses a disability, when compared to the majority who indicate that physical ailments fall into this category.

Among Canadians who have taken time off work because of a disability, three in ten (30%) did so because of a mental disability they experienced. Despite this, fewer Canadians consider depression and anxiety to be classified as disabilities. The survey presented working Canadians with a list of situations and conditions and asked them which ones they considered to be disabilities. Their answers suggest a bias toward viewing disabilities as being largely physical rather than mental, particularly when it comes to accidents (65%, -2pts since 2015) or degenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis (65%, -2pts) that impact physical mobility. While a majority view these as being disabilities, fewer than half feel the same way about depression (47%, -3 pts) or anxiety (36%, -1 pt). Other options presented included:

  • Workplace-related accident: 53% (-5 pts)
  • Cancer: 48% (-1 pt)
  • Arthritis: 44% (-4 pts)
  • Cardiovascular disease: 40% (-3 pts)
  • Diabetes: 27% (+1 pt)
  • Any other health-related reasons: 25% (+2 pts)

Understanding Disability Coverage

While the overwhelming majority (82%) of those with disability coverage agree (24% strongly/58% somewhat) they’re well covered through their disability benefits, the survey reveals that many don’t fully understand the coverage they have: only one in three (33%) of those with disability coverage say they understand the details of their coverage very well. In fact, only half (52%) know how their benefit plan defines a disability (23% don’t, 24% aren’t sure). One in four (23%) know they have some sort of coverage – but that’s all they know.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 2nd and January 4th, 2018 on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,505 employed Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are considered accurate to within ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all working Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson

Vice President, Canada Ipsos Public Affairs

+1 416 324-2002 

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of Canadian American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs is the polling partner for Global News. Internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs