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Doctors at a Distance: Obtaining medical information and protecting privacy in the remote era

Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Noella Martin

Employer Counsel
Wickwire Holm
Christopher Rootham

Union Counsel
Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP


Ashley Brown

Employer Counsel
Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP
Elisabeth Finney

Union Counsel
Black Gropper
Thomas Keenan

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Calgary


Obtaining medical information relating to sick leave, disability accommodation, or return to work is normally a routine task for employers and unions. However, the COVID-19 crisis has amplified health-related issues while ushering in a new era of remote work, which has created privacy risks and other unanticipated challenges in information management. In this session, legal and privacy experts will provide practical guidance on obtaining medical information and protecting privacy in the context of the remote workplace, with a focus on the following issues:

  • What constitutes appropriate questioning regarding an employee's health, and how is such questioning distinguished from overly intrusive or discriminatory inquiries? What unique considerations may apply when inquiring about the health of an employee who is working remotely?
  • What information can an employer or union representative legally require in connection with a request for accommodation or leave? How have requirements for medical information changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What is the most effective way for employers and unions to request information from physicians? If an employee has already provided a medical report from a family doctor, when will the employer be justified in seeking further information, a specialist report, or an independent medical examination (IME)? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected communication between workplace parties and health care professionals?
  • What legal obligations do employers and unions have when handling employees' medical information? What are some best practices for fulfilling these obligations in a remote work environment?
  • When, if ever, can employers and unions share medical information with each other or with third parties? How have requirements changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What risks to data privacy and security arise in a remote work environment? What steps can workplace parties take to mitigate these risks, particularly with respect to ensuring the confidentiality of employees' medical information?
  • What key elements should employers include in their policies to help protect confidential information? How can employers and unions effectively communicate privacy-related policies and procedures to a remote workforce?


CPHR Alberta

CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

This program has been approved for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A3 of the Recertification Log of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

HRMA Continuing Professional Development

This audio conference has been pre-approved by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours. Be sure to note the Event Identification Number in your CPHR Recertification Log.

Lancaster House CPD
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society may count this program for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.

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 – $265, plus HST
Live Session for 2 or more (Boardroom fee) – $530, plus HST
Bundle Rate – Purchase a Live Session and receive the companion MP3 Recording for $165, plus HST
MP3 Recording – $265, plus HST
(Registrations must be paid in advance of the audio conference)
Contact us for discount pricing on the entire series.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $265. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $165.

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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