Home|Audio Conferences|Medical Notes, Specialist Reports and IMEs

Medical Notes, Specialist Reports and IMEs: Employee privacy vs. the employer's right to know

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Carissa Tanzola

Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal


Porter Heffernan

Employer Counsel
Emond Harnden
Karen Ensslen

Union Counsel
Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson
Dr. Michael Yamanaka

Assistant Medical Director, Workplace Health & Safety
BC Public Service Agency


Medical issues frequently arise in the workplace that lead to employer requests for medical information, such as fulfilling the duty to accommodate, determining eligibility for benefits, and managing workplace attendance. Obtaining accurate, reliable information while respecting employee privacy rights is often a difficult task, particularly where the information relates to a mental disability. In this session, medical and legal experts will provide guidance on the do's and don'ts of accessing medical information, addressing the following issues:

  • What constitutes appropriate questioning regarding an employee's health and how is such questioning to be distinguished from overly intrusive or discriminatory inquiries?
  • In general terms, what type of information can an employer legally request in the context of a workplace accommodation? What information is an employer entitled to request if the only accommodation sought is a period of absence from work? Does the length of the absence make a difference? What information should be provided to excuse or mitigate disability-related misconduct? What critical mistakes are made when requesting medical information and how can they be avoided?
  • If an employee has submitted a medical certificate from his or her own physician supporting an accommodation or absence request, when will the employer be justified in seeking further information and/or a specialist report? What is the process that should be followed in such cases?
  • When can an employer require an independent medical examination (IME)? Is the employer entitled to choose the physician conducting the examination? What is the union's role in the IME process? What type of information can an employer legally require from an IME? Does the permissible scope of information depend on the reason for which the IME is sought (e.g. fitness to return to work, eligibility for benefits, etc.)?
  • What steps must/should employers/unions take to protect the confidentiality of medical information in their possession?
  • How does the litigation process (e.g. grievance arbitration, human rights proceeding, WSIB appeal) affect an employee's privacy rights in his or her medical health records? Have recent decisions shown a trend towards providing greater protection for employee privacy?


HRPA Continuing Professional Development

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has approved Lancaster House as a Continuing Professional Development Partner, guaranteeing that participation in our audio conferences will be accepted by the HRPA for CPD credit.

HRMA Continuing Professional Development

This audio conference has been approved by the HRMA for 1.5 CPHR recertification credits.

Lancaster House CPD
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • Each audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Each audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society may count this program for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD approval.
  • CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.
  • This program has been approved for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A3 of the Recertification Log of the Human Resource Professionals Association.

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Live Session – $255, plus HST
Live Session for 2 or more (Boardroom fee) – $510, plus HST
Bundle Rate – Purchase a Live Session and receive the companion MP3 Recording for $155, plus HST
MP3 Recording – $255, plus HST
(Registrations must be paid in advance of the audio conference)

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $255. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $155.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

When you register, you'll be given a toll-free number to dial at the time of the session and an access code to join the call. For additional program and registration information, call Lancaster House at (416) 977-6618.

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