Dear Ontario Teachers,

This is a short note to let you know that we understand what you’re going through, and that we empathize.

We know what can happen when inflated class sizes make teaching nearly impossible. Each student is different, and every individual learns differently. Too many students make it impractical for you to impart information effectively and to form deep and meaningful relationships with individual students. Also, students are still children who require close supervision. It is difficult to guarantee the safety of that many young, vulnerable individuals when your capacity for oversight is limited.

We understand that you are out there marching in the freezing cold to give students the opportunities that they deserve. School is not just about staring at the blackboard for a few hours a day. Students attend school to participate in extracurricular sports, develop their socialization skills, lead groups and clubs that advocate for issues important to them, and learn the skills essential for evolving into tomorrow’s leaders. When we keep cutting back on the resources for these activities, you as teachers are simply unable to provide a stimulating environment in which students thrive.

A safe environment that allows students to succeed helps you succeed professionally. Without that, we know that your job stress can be astronomical. You can become overstretched and the regular job stresses of reining in difficult students; spending nights and weekends marking and lesson planning and meeting the requirements school administrators are that much more difficult to bear without the right support. Job action may be necessary to achieve your goals, but it also adds to your stress and makes your job situation that much more challenging.

We are well aware that your physical and mental health can be seriously impacted by these additional strains. We know that stress and mental health issues are the leading cause of long term disability claims for teachers: they are significantly more common than physical injuries. Workplace stress can lead to a number of physical health issues including, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, or difficulties with mood, concentration and focus. While you may be trying to struggle through these challenges while giving everything you can to your students, the stress may be pushing you beyond your limits.

If your doctor has said that you are unable to work, then your next step is to submit an application for disability benefits. Although you may submit a claim for short or long term disability benefits, unfortunately your insurance company does not always see eye to eye with your physician. The insurer might deny your application because in the insurer’s opinion you are “‘not totally disabled,”’ or the “treatment you are receiving does not suggest a severe condition” or the insurer may suggest that there is “insufficient medical information to support a finding of disability.” The insurer may demand that your doctor do a great deal of extra paperwork or may order an Independent Medical Examination (IME) to dispute your doctor’s opinions. You may find yourself even more stressed by having to meet the unreasonable demands of the insurance company.

Disability benefit denials are incredibly frustrating, and do not make day to day stress any easier to manage. However, a denial of your benefits certainly does not mean that you are not ill or injured or that you do not deserve the proper protection. You need a team of experienced disability lawyers who can fight for you and make sure that you get the coverage you deserve. MK Disability Lawyers is a team of experienced disability litigators who tenaciously advocate for our clients against the insurance industry and focus on getting our clients the coverage they deserve so that they can focus on treatment and regaining their health.

Teachers – if your workplace stress has left you too sick to work, and the insurance company has denied your application for short or long term disability benefits, remember that you do have options. If you wish to discuss these options with a lawyer, the lawyers at MK Disability Lawyers have decades of specialized experience dealing with disability cases. The lawyers at MK Disability Lawyers have handled hundreds of OTIP – Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan cases over the years and have assisted teachers from all Ontario boards of education. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation, during which we can discuss these options and answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@mkdisabilitylawyers.com for further information.

We are here to help and will do whatever we can to support you so that you can focus on supporting our students.

Sincerely,

Courtney Mulqueen, Rupa Karyampudi, and Leanne Goldstein

Partners, MK Disability Lawyers