Disability Management

Sun Life Group Benefits is committed to working with Canadian employers to help optimize the physical, mental and social health of your people – and to supporting your organization in maintaining a healthy, engaged workforce. We believe in the relentless pursuit of better health.

We understand that the right support at the right time can transform a person for life – and believe that returning to work as soon as possible is most often the fastest path to optimal recovery.

We have established the service and support you need through our commitment to excellence in four areas:

  • Solution-focused partnership
  • Health-based claims management
  • Exceptional people
  • Continuous innovation and investment

You can learn more about Sun Life’s Group Absence and Disability products and services at www.sunlife.ca/aas


We firmly believe in the value of aligning with experts – both in the educational environment and throughout the industry. Our focus on insight is the driver behind many of these research relationships. We invest heavily in both primary and foundational research to create insights that drive solutions. Some key areas of focus within our current research complement are predictive analytics, early/initial assessment tools and impactful intervention resources.

  • Changing the face of cancer – Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, while 1 in 4 will die of the disease*. Cancer and related treatments represent growing costs to Group Benefits plans but also, more importantly, have a significant impact on employees and their families. As an employer, learn what you can do today to change the face of cancer.
    *Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017.
  • The Post Disaster Guidance for Organizations – Planning for a disaster is not something anyone likes to think about, but the past events in Fort McMurray remind us that, without a plan, things can get chaotic quickly. This document has been prepared in response to requests from clients for Sun Life to share some guidance with organizations who may be experiencing a disaster or time of crisis for the first time and who may not have a plan in place. This document is intended to set out some high level principles for consideration only; as every situation is unique, organizations are encouraged to seek their own specific advice on what might work best for them.
  • Predictors of Prolonged Recovery – It is well known that many people can experience mental health issues at some time in their life, with anxiety and depression being the most common mental health conditions. Those with mental health issues can recover well and in a timely manner if they receive appropriate management and support. Previous research has stated that nothing is more central to an individual's recovery than their own thoughts and expectations about recovery. Although there has been an increase in the number of research studies exploring the understanding of expectations of recovery in individuals across a variety of health conditions, there has unfortunately, been no research in understanding this area in individuals in receipt of disability benefits due to a mental illness. In partnership with McMaster University, we are coordinating a study to improve our understanding of the expectations of recovery in individuals who are receiving disability benefits with a view to being better able to manage recovery and return to work. The study will begin in 2015 with results expected in 2016.
  • Work Focused Health Management Consulting – Through the University of Sherbrooke's Centre for Preventative Action & Rehabilitation of Work Disability, we have developed a rehabilitation program that is focused on improving disability outcomes, workplace functioning and coping and an individual's overall health.  The approach leverages the growing body of literature that demonstrates that a biopsychosocial approach (which takes into consideration an individual's physical, mental, psychological and social health) leads to optimal disability outcomes. The approach includes time-limited interventions using motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural principles and a strong focus on graded activity and workplace interventions. We conducted an exploratory pilot in 2012 and are planning a broader pilot in 2015.
  • Absenteeism – A 3-Part Study – This Conference Board of Canada study, sponsored by Sun Life Financial, examines various aspects of absenteeism. Missing in Action: Absenteeism Trends in Canadian Organizations, is the first in a three-part series of publications, exploring the facts and figures around absenteeism. The next publication, Creating an Effective Workplace Disability Management Program, provides a framework for employers and identifies the key elements of a successful disability management program. The third publication, Disability Management: Opportunities for Employer Action, provides advice and guidance for organizations to more effectively manage absenteeism.