Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ontario Medical Association Comments on Doctors Notes

Earlier this week the Ontario Medical Association made an announcement saying that it would discourage employers from continuing to ask their employees to produce a doctor's note every time they were absent from work.

However, despite the Ontario Medical Association’s (OMA) recent statement that sick employees should not be required to provide employers with a notes from a doctor, this requirement remains at the sole discretion of each employer. So long as the sick note policy is not discriminatory in any way, (see this post from May 2013 on a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling) employers can continue to require that sick employees provide notes from doctors. Each company’s sick note policy must be specified in the company's employment policies. These policies should be explained to employees when joining the company and be easily accessible in print or electronic format.

The statement from the OMA is likely to cause some confusion amongst employees who may now feel that a sick note is no longer required. Employers who wish to continue their sick note policy should take steps to remind all employees of the policy requirements in order to avoid future disputes with staff.


As always, everyone’s situation is different. The above is not intended to be legal advice for any particular situation and it is always prudent to seek professional legal advice before taking any decisions on one’s own case.

Sean Bawden, publisher of the law blog for the suddenly unemployed, can be reached by email at sbawden@kellysantin or by phone at 613.238.6321.

Sean P. Bawden is an Ottawa, Ontario employment lawyer and wrongful dismissal lawyer practicing with Kelly Santini LLP, and part-time professor at Algonquin College teaching Trial Advocacy for Paralegals and Small Claims Court Practice. He is a trustee of the County of Carleton Law Association.

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