In today’s working environment, a competitive benefits plan is essential to attracting and retaining employees. Ensuring your team is healthy and happy can improve morale and productivity and signal a great company culture.

Employee benefit plans are designed to meet a wide range of needs whether it be protection in the event of an illness or disability or covering routine medical bills like prescriptions or visits to the dentist.

Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment

Employee Life

Group life insurance provides a tax free, lump sum payout to help support an employee’s family in the event they pass away. In comparison to a personal life insurance policy, a group plan offers very affordable life insurance coverage, and (in most cases) no medical testing is required.

Coverage ranges from $10,000 - $300,000

Can be paid out as a multiple of salary (example: 2 x employee annual salary)
Guaranteed coverage for companies or organizations with three or more employees

Dependent Life

Covers spouses and dependent children for all causes of death

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)

Provides a lump sum payout similar to life insurance in the case of an employee’s death, paralysis, or loss of limb, hearing, speech, or sight due to an accident.

Covered losses must:

  • be as a direct result of the accidental injury

  • have occurred within 365 days from the date of the accidental injury

  • be total and irreversible or irrecoverable

Extended Health Care

Extended Health insurance helps employees and their dependents pay for medical expenses that aren't covered by their provincial plan. Up to 100% of eligible costs may be covered. Eligible expenses include:

Prescription Drugs

Receive up to 100% coverage for prescribed drug treatments with a custom annual maximum (generally ranging from $5,000 per person to unlimited).

You have the option to cover only to the cost of a generic substitute, as opposed to a more expensive brand name drug.

Exception Drugs

Insureds who require an exception drug can request prior authorization in order to obtain a reimbursement. To do so, they must complete a Prescription Drug – Special Authorization Request with the help of their physician.

Paramedical Practitioner Services

Receive treatment from a variety of paramedical practitioners at reasonable and customary rates. Maximums ranging up to $500 per person per type of service in a calendar year.

Services are generally provided by the following licensed practitioners:

Chiropractor, Osteopath, Podiatrist/Chiropodist, Massage Therapist, Naturopath, Speech Therapist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist, Acupuncturist

Medical Equipment and Supplies / Hospital coverage

Emergency ground or air ambulance to the nearest hospital
Private or semi-private hospital rooms
Nursing services

Emergency Travel Insurance

Travel insurance includes coverage for eligible expenses resulting from a medical emergency occurring out of country, generally this includes $5,000,000 of coverage and a 30 day trip length.

Vision Care (Glasses, Contacts, Eye Surgery)

Up to $200 of Vision Care benefits per employee annually or bi-annually.

Dental Care

Dental Care plans will cover up to 100% of Basic services, with Major services available at request and Orthodontic coverage available to firms with 10 or more employees.

Basic Dental

Check-ups and complete dental exams
Fluoride, polishing and scaling
Dental x-rays and films
Minor restorations including fillings
Oral surgery
Root canal therapeutics
Gum treatment

Major Dental

Crowns, dentures and bridges


Orthodontic exams, X-rays and casts
Braces for minor dependents


Replaces a percentage of an employee’s income should they have to spend time away from work due to an injury or illness. Generally, 66.6% of an employee’s income is paid to them after a set period of time away from work and to a maximum time frame of collecting benefits – this can range from several months up to typical retirement of the employee (age 65).

You have control to decide how long an employee must be away from work to qualify and how long the benefits will be collected.

Short Term Disability

Short Term Disability is used to replace the income an employee loses when they must take a leave from work due to illness or injury on a short-term basis. Providing STD insurance may qualify you for a reduced E.I. premium rate.

As the owner, you can customize how long your employees must be off work before they may begin to collect benefits, and how long they may collect benefits. Typically, STD plans provide coverage on the first day following an accident or hospitalization and the 8th or 15th day of absence as a result of sickness. Common benefit payment periods would be 15 weeks, 17 weeks or 26 weeks. The benefit will pay up to 66.6 % of the employee’s gross income.

Long Term Disability

Much like Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability replaces an employee’s lost income due to illness or injury. The difference being a longer wait period and longer benefit period. Typically, STD and LTD plans are coordinated so that an employee can pass through the STD period into the LTD period claiming seamlessly.

Example: STD plan has a benefit period of 17 weeks, LTD begins after 17 weeks.

Typically, LTD benefits pay an employee for 2 years, 5 years, or until age 65

Critical Illness

Critical Illness provides financial relief in the case of a major medical event where the employee survives, so they can focus on recovery. Benefits usually range from $10,000 - $50,000 per employee.

Commonly covered conditions (consult your broker or insurance company for an exhaustive list):

Alzheimer's / Aortic Surgery / Aplastic Anemia / Bacterial Meningitis / Benign Brain Tumour / Blindness / Burns / Cancer / Coma / Coronary Bypass / Deafness / Heart Attack / Heart Valve Replacement / Kidney Failure / Loss of Independent Existence / Loss of Limbs / Loss of Speech / Major Organ Failure (on Waiting List) / Major Organ Transplant / Motor Neuron Disease / Multiple Sclerosis / Occupational HIV / Paralysis /Parkinson's Disease / Stroke

Health Spending Account

A health spending account is an allowance set by an employer for their employees that can be used to pay for medical expenses on a tax free basis. This account often acts as a "top up" for expenses not covered on a traditional plan, but can also act as a flexible standalone option. The option provides plan members with flexibility in how their benefits dollars are spent, but does not "insure" them for issues with larger financial impact - benefits stop when the allowance is done for the year.

For a full list of eligible expenses visit the CRA website

Wellness Account

A wellness account is an allowance set by the employer to cover employee expenses related to living a healthy lifestyle (Often referred to as a lifestyle account). These expenses do not have to follow the CRA guidelines that HSA expenses do, and for this reason they are taxable as compensation to the employee. The employer thus has full control over what benefits are offered and can customize creatively to reflect company values. Plans often include a gym membership, subsidized rec spots, personal training, hobbies outside of work and preofessional development classes.