Litigating Long-Term Disability Claims

According to a recent Canadian Survey on Disability, “one in seven people aged 15 years and older reported having a disability. This represents 3.8 million Canadians whose everyday activities are limited as a result of a long-term health condition or health-related problem.”

Disabilities, which are most commonly associated with illnesses (such as cancer or multiple sclerosis) or injuries that result in persistent pain and/or reduced mobility, could result in a person losing their ability to work, their security, and their independence.

Between employee group benefits and private insurance plans, a significant number of working Albertans have short- and long-term disability insurance coverage; in the event that an employee experiences an injury that prevents them from working, these benefits provide a level of stability and financial security. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not make money by paying out claims, and may seek to reduce payments, refuse further benefits, or even deny claims outright.

Litigation Can Work

In 2016, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in favour of Calgary teacher Jenna Tyson after she sought long-term disability following a brain tumour diagnosis. Jenna began suffering headaches, nausea, and dizziness in early July, 2012, but was not diagnosed with a brain tumour until September 13, 2012—three days into her teaching contract with the Calgary Board of Education.


Although Jenna sought treatment for her tumour and filed a total disability claim that sought coverage indefinitely from the date of her surgery onwards, her claim (and all subsequent appeals) was denied. The Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan contended that Jenna Tyson’s brain tumour was a pre-existing condition. With legal support, Jenna was able to argue that ambiguous language in the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan’s exclusion clause did not apply to her case, and the presiding Justice agreed. The court awarded Jenna the full entitlement of her claim plus her legal costs.

Jenna Tyson is not alone in successfully obtaining long-term disability coverage through legal action:

  • An Ontario woman whose insurance company claimed she was fit to work because she was able to provide care for her severely developmentally-delayed son had her long-term disability reinstated after she filed a claim.
  • A Federal Court ruled in favour of 6,800 Canadian Armed Forces veterans that were “shortchanged” on their long-term disability payments.
  • 1,056 RCMP veterans were awarded a multimillion-dollar class-action settlement after their long-term disability payments were clawed back.

Proper legal representation can be the deciding factor between protecting your long-term disability and being left out in the cold by your insurer.

Protect Your Long-Term Disability

If you, or someone you love, have suffered due to the actions or negligence of another, the team at Pipella Law is here to help. We will represent your interests long-term, regardless of the challenges tomorrow may bring. If you have questions or concerns about legal representation, please give us a call to book a free consultation with our personal injury team. We are dedicated to advocating on your behalf and operate on a contingency fee basis—you will not pay until we deliver the settlement you deserve.

You don’t have to suffer. We are here to help.